China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd. subsidiary Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty. Ltd. secured approval from the New South Wales Government for a renewed exploration license for the preproduction-stage Watermark coal project.
In a bid to protect fertile black soils of the Liverpool Plains for agriculture, the state government withdrew part of China Shenhua Energy's license in mid-2017, covering approximately 100 square kilometers of the 195 square kilometers comprising the project, and provided a A$261.8 million refund.
The company paid A$299 million for the exploration license in November 2008.
China Shenhua Energy said July 29 that the renewed license excludes the fertile black soil areas and covers the period from July 13, 2018, to Oct. 22, 2021.
Before mining can start, China Shenhua Energy's subsidiary must apply to the New South Wales government to convert the exploration license to a mining lease. If the mining lease is granted, the company will pay the government an additional A$200 million.