Hodges Resources intends to undertake concept and prefeasibility studies designed to establish the viability of the Morupule South project in Botswana.

The move is in line with the company’s plan to develop the coal mine, following the completion of the first phase of infill drilling at the Central Block at the project.

Hodges Resources plans to focus on areas amenable to open pit operations, including the Central, West and East blocks.

Hodges Managing Director Mark Major said the studies are another positive step for the company as it moves towards a production scenario.

"The key to unlocking Botswana coal is to be able to produce a saleable coal for the lowest cost. Given that some beneficiation is required, we need low-cost operations and good return yields," said Major

"On the current work completed we know we can obtain great yields to produce a premium thermal coal product and now need to monetise this by undertaking conceptual economic studies on our mining and product use options."

The company aims to complete studies before the end of the year, while measured and indicated JORC resources are anticipated in late 2012.