South Australia contains a number of coal deposits, the largest and most concentrated of which lie in the Permian Arckaringa Basin in the State’s north, as depicted in the following map.
Altona Energy holds, through its wholly owned subsidiary Arckaringa Energy Pty Ltd, a 100% interest in three exploration licenses covering 2,500 sq. kms in the northern portion of the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia and including three coal deposits - Westfield (EL 4511),Wintinna (EL 4512) and Murloocoppie (EL 4513). All three deposits lie close to the Adelaide to Darwin railroad and the Stuart Highway.
Of the three, it is planned to develop Wintinna first.
None of the tenements falls within the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) as shown in the map below (with the old EL numbers indicated).
The North–South transport corridor consisting of the Stuart Highway and the railway and other easements will continue to be used by Altona and AUEJV personnel to transit the WPA. General provisions that apply to the transit of the WPA also apply to users under the AUEJV.
Mining tenements of the deposits have been held since the early 1980s. In November 2005 they were transferred to Altona along with a large amount of technical data that had accumulated. Norman Kennedy, a long-standing caretaker of the tenements, is now a director and a shareholder in Altona Energy Plc.
The coal resources of the Arckaringa Basin were extensively explored in
the 1980s and several feasibility studies were carried out for the Wintinna
deposit, as a fuel source for potential offsite base load power stations
and private industrial projects. In 1984, a bankable feasibility study
was submitted to the South Australia Government. However like other projects
for which Wintinna was a potential source of supply, the power station
was never built. Approximately 24,000 metres of drilling in 105 boreholes
at 93 sites were completed in past exploration programs to define the current
deposit. Approximately 30% of the boreholes were cored at either HQ or
larger diameter and all boreholes were geophysically logged. A comprehensive
set of hydro-geological, geo-technical, mining and environmental studies
was also completed for the Wintinna deposit at this time.
The Wintinna coal deposit is approximately 60 kilometres east of the Adelaide to Darwin railway, which at that point runs adjacent to the Stuart Highway. The terrain is flat and ranges from 120 to 150 metres above sea level. Escarpments to the west and North-East rise to about 190 metres above sea level. The Arckaringa Creek drains the area in a South-Easterly direction into Lake Eyre. Open scrub vegetation supports cattle grazing, the water for which is obtained from sub-artesian bores. Average annual rainfall is 130mm and falls mostly in the hot summer months from December to February.
At Wintinna, 10 persistent seams with a thickness in excess of 0.60 metres have been intersected in the early Permian Upper Mount Toondina Formation between the depths of 139 metres and 285 metres. They generally account for 30% of a 70 to 80 metre stratigraphic interval and have been named in descending stratigraphic order: Isolation, Perentie Upper, Perentie, Goorikiana Upper, Goorikiana, Mirackina, Arckaringa, Mount Barry, Nilkinina and Waddikee Seams. The typical stratigraphy of the deposit is depicted in the diagram shown in Geology and Mining.