Carbine Resources managing director Tony James at the Gladstone Engineering Alliance's Major Industry Conference.
Carbine Resources managing director Tony James at the Gladstone Engineering Alliance's Major Industry Conference. Tegan Annett

International interest in unique $85 million CQ coal mine

CHINESE customers are lining up for the pyrite set to be mined at the $85 million copper and gold mining project at Mount Morgan.

In a "major breakthrough" for Carbine Resources' Mount Morgan Mine rejuvenation the company has left international investors wanting more after sending samples of the products they hope to produce several million tonnes of every year.

Managing director Tony James said the interest from Chinese iron manufacturers was an unexpected game changer for the project more than 15 years in the making.

International interest has come in the form of financial support too, with three global companies "in the data room" evaluating the project's due diligence.

The mine is an environmental amendment approval away from construction, expected to create up to 150 jobs.

"When I went to China I didn't understand the enormous potential for pyrite," Mr James said.

"We took samples back to China and they tested it and they loved the product.

"I've had six people call me up this year and say 'we want 500,000 tonnes of pyrite next year, can you start in January?' "I thought wow, I need to get the thing built and up and running first."

The West Australian-based company plans to extract the residual minerals, including gold, copper and pyrite, from the tailings left behind at the deserted central Queensland mine site, where activity ended 27 years ago.

Gladstone Engineering Alliance's Major Industry Conference: Carbine Resources managing director Tony James

Mr James told Gladstone businesses yesterday 95% of the project could be completed by central Queensland's workforce.

He said the gold, copper and pyrite would exported internationally via Gladstone Port.

"We don't need to bring stuff from outside of central Queensland," he said.

"As a mining guy who operates in Australia and the world, CQ has some serious infrastructure, you guys have some serious kit.

"That makes makes my job easy but hard for you guys because you have more competition."

Mr James anticipates to receive the final approval by next year, when the next challenge will be funding the $85 million project.

But with international companies already showing interest he said he's "very confident".

The company has spent $11.1 million on the project since taking ownership of the deserted mine site in 2014.

Construction, expected to cost $85 million, will take 12 months and create 140 jobs. The mine is expected to have a 20-year lifespan supported by 70 ongoing jobs.