Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in April 2010, Endocoal is looking to establish itself as the next emerging coal producer in the Bowen Basin. A group of tenements were brought to the tableand Endocoal was formed. Once the company was listed the exploration program was initiated and coal exploration began. While Tim Hedley, the CEO, and theexploration team are based in Brisbane, the company’s small corporate office is in Sydney. They are currently targeting three types of coal: thermal coal for power generation, PCI coal as a coking coal replacement for steel making, as well as coking coal.
At the current time Endocoal is activelyexploring in Queensland’s Bowen Basin with a total of six drilling rigs. Three of these are at Orion Downs south of Emerald, near Rolleston. Here there have been early discoveries and success in the thermal coal area. “We’re just about to announce commencement of a feasibility study looking at the Meteor Downs South open cut mine and the Inderi underground operation. This will be our first operating production area. We are targeting 1.5 million tonnes per year of direct-ship thermal coal from Meteor Downs South and another 1 million tonnes from Inderi,” says Tim Hedley. Endocoal also has threerigs drilling at Rockwood north east of Dysart. “Rockwood is where we’re searching for the PCI style of coal”, he said.
On 1 August 2011 Endocoal announcedthe initialJORC resource statement for Rockwood at 56.1 million tonnes and upgraded the Meteor Downs South and Inderi resources at36.0 million tonnes. Endocoal is preparing to begin drilling on another area known as Talwood, north west of Moranbah,where they are looking for coking coal. “At the moment we have done cultural heritage clearances and are now undertaking landholder agreement discussions. We should have drill rigs on the area in August.”
Endocoal identifies “getting a mine operation started” as the most significant priority. However, gaining access to export shipping capacity will also be a challenge. “There’s a lot of demand on the port of Gladstone. We’re very mindful of this issue and for that reason we’ve recently purchased 2 million tonnes of Feasibility Funding Facility Agreement Status capacity (FFFA). That will allow us to move one step up the priority listing and will help us gain access to port capacity for export of Orion Downs coal,” explains Tim. “It’s a very dynamic situation around port capacity so we’re doing whatever we can to have the best possible chance of getting an allocation for the long term.Also, we are acting to secure short term access as well.It is crucial we talk to other coal port producers who may have unused port capacity in the period in 2013 and before the major port expansions come on line,” said Tim.
Endocoal is a relatively small company with only seven full-time and four part-time staff, including the exploration team. They actually share some of their corporate overhead services as well. In addition to employees, Endocoal also engages several other external consultants to assist in attaining mining tenures and in helping put together the feasibility studies. “We also engage several contractors in exploration jobs out in the field. We have contractors working for us operating the drill rigs and carrying out drill site preparation and then follow-up land site rehabilitation,” Tim explained.
Endocoal does its best to ensure all employees remain satisfied with their positions in the company. They talk to their staff regularly and have weekly ring-in progress and planning meetings. These meetings serve as an ‘issue sorting session’, says Tim. Endocoal emphasises the importance of remaining supportive to the individuals who are actually out on the field doing the exploration. “We like to cycle people through the office. We don’t want to leave them out there forever. Sometimes they’re in the field and sometimes they are in the office. Our aim is to make sure people get some balance in their private life and working time. You have to be conscious of people and their lifestyles but also run an efficient business,” says Tim. Endocoalpromotes a strong safety culture within the company and particularly at thedrilling sites. Through taking a ‘no blame’ approach they encourage staff to report all incidents and raise any issues they may have. “When something goes wrong we want to know about it. We want to know about the little things so we can stop the big things happening. It’s a behavioural change really; we need to get people to be totally safety conscious.We are getting a very positive response from our drilling contractors to this approach.” The company maintains excellent relations with their staff and site teams, simply because they do care.
Endocoal makes a conscious effort to minimise its impact on the environment. Following regulations and guidelines is great, but Endocoal prefers to go that extra mile. “We can’t afford not to be supportive and we must operate with good environmental standards. An operating license can get taken away very quickly if you don’t deal with the environment and landholders properly,” says Tim. Endocoalsets out to develop good relationships with landholders on whose properties they drill. “They were there before we got there. We put a lot of effort into establishing good relationships and in maintaining these positively. We make sure allpeople do the right things while they’re on operating sites.” Endocoal believes it’s the little things that truly matter. Some things may seem small but can actually upset people a great deal if not dealt with properly. “Endocoalbelieves it is important to demonstrate respect to landholders and to show them we are responsible as visitors while we are working on their properties” said Tim.
The future of Endocoal
Endocoalwill continue to be busy with six drilling rigs running.The challenge is to develop a portfolio of coal resources and to take these through to production in the near future. However, they remain very optimistic about their future as they have already had early success and intend to continue on this path. “There are plenty of other companies out here looking for coal but I would like to think Endocoal can be the nextnew coal producer,” says Tim with confidence. They currently have two viable deposits to get on the way. They are looking for more and to put mine development plans around them.