Strategic Minerals has started extraction of a bulk sample from the proposed Tatu coal mine on the North Island of New Zealand after receiving regulatory approval.
The company said it is performing the work to ensure that the planned extraction complied with statutory requirements.
Upon obtaining approval, the company has implemented health and safety plans, and upgraded the access road, prior to proceeding with extraction of the bulk sample.
The sample location may be the access point for underground operations, and will be accessed through an at-surface section of the coal seam after removing top cover of around 1.5m of overburden.
Tatu coal mine is believed to be a good underground access point for its own and adjacent coal tenements.
Strategic Minerals non-executive-chairman Alan Broome said: "The company has been working towards the commencement of the bulk sample extraction as a key step in completing its assessment for the commissioning of the mine works at Tatu.
"Accordingly, the commencement is an important and exciting step for the company, which plans to lever off this information to identify potential customers for the produced coal and assess their interest in future purchases."
Once the laboratory work associated with the bulk extraction is completed, Strategic Minerals plans to evaluate its New Zealand network to ascertain likely product demand.
The company said it will continue to review funding alternatives.
Strategic Minerals signed a share purchase agreement in March to acquire the Tatu project.
Image: Tatu coal mine is a good underground access point for its own and adjacent coal tenements. Photo: courtesy of Somma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.