Fingal coal update due next month

VICTORIAN company Hardrock Coal Mining is expected to provide an update on its proposed Fingal Valley project early next month.

First announced in late 2011, the $40 million underground mining proposal was granted a permit by Environmental Protection Authority Tasmania in August 2012 and state and local government approvals in September last year.

The company holds two exploration licences in the Fingal Valley and said it was initially planning to mine part of the Duncan coal seam off Valley Road.

The site was mined in the 1950s.

Hardrock said it proposed to extract a million tonnes of coal a year to be transported by rail to Bell Bay for shipment to Asian markets.

In its EPA submission the company said the mine would operate five days a week from 11pm on Sunday to 11pm on Friday, with three shifts of 8.5 hours a day and have a life of about 15 years.

It was expected to employ nearly 80 people during construction and 200 when operational.

Cornwall Coal, at Fingal, produces more than 400,000 tonnes of washed coal each year from its underground and open-cut mines in the area.

A subsidiary of Queensland-based company Cement Australia, Cornwall Coal transports up to 200,000 tonnes a year by rail to the Railton cement plant.

Hardrock Coal Mining said last year it was expecting to start surface construction in the first quarter of 2014.

A company spokesman said yesterday that an update on the project would be issued in April.

Tasmanian company CBM Sustainability Group is Hardrock's local representative and has been undertaking design and project management work on the project.