Cuesta Coal has unveiled a 92% resource increase to 281 million tonnes (Mt) at its Moorlands thermal coal project near Clermont in Queensland, Australia.

The measured joint ore reserves committee resource category has increased by 103.5Mt to 118.9Mt, further supporting the initial open cut mine plan at the proposed Moorlands south pit.

The south pit average stripping ratio of 3.2:1 has been maintained and the majority of the resource is now in the measured and indicated category.

Upon completion of the 2013 exploration programme, the geological data was compiled and loaded into the existing 3D model to ascertain the upgraded resource estimate.

"Our immediate focus is to assess the reserve estimate, which we expect to report in the next four to six weeks."

The company expects an improvement in the proposed south pit mine design due to westerly extensions of the coal resource, resulting in increased coal quantities and a widening of the proposed mining area.

Cuesta said that the geological data and the upcoming reserve calculation are key components to the definitive feasibility study (DFS), and that DFS activities have been focused on the scope, key deliverables and critical path activities.

The company noted that it is also continuing to make progress to secure secondary market port and rail capacity for the Moorlands project.

Negotiations have been underway with a third party user for several months, and Cuesta anticipates to finalise the discussions and execute port and rail access agreements by the end of June this year.

Cuesta Coal managing director Matthew Crawford said this is a significant development for Cuesta and further evidence that Moorlands is developing into a thermal coal project with significant value.

"Within the space of 12 months, Cuesta has taken Moorlands from a circa 54Mt deposit to completing the bolt-on acquisitions of EPCs 775 and 776, completing cost-effective and safe exploration activities to enable the announcement of today’s resource increase," Crawford said.

"Our immediate focus is to assess the reserve estimate, which we expect to report in the next four to six weeks, as a major input item into the DFS."

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