The Fortescue Metals Group is looking to diversify into coal in Queensland. The third largest iron ore producer in Australia is owned by Mr Andrew Forrest, who along with mining magnates Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart, is looking to develop new projects in the state.
The company has bought a range of exploration permit tenures in areas near Emerald, Nebo and Dysart. The earlier coal interests for the company had been limited to some exploration permits that it had in New Zealand. It has indicated interest in setting up a coal division in August this year but little action was seen on the issue in public.
However it is involved in about five coal projects in the state. Out of these three have been already granted permits by the Queensland state mining and energy department while two more await approval. Once it begins developing the coal deposits it will be more aligned to rival mining giants such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
Clive Palmer is hoping to develop a mine near the one that Gina Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting is developing for $7.5 billion at the Alpha thermal coalmine. The interest in coal of these middle level miners is spurred by the strong Asian demand in global markets.