New Age Exploration Limited (ASX:NAE) Acquisition of Coal Concessions in Cesar Basin, Colombia
New Age Exploration Limited (ASX:NAE) Acquisition of Coal Concessions in Cesar Basin, Colombia
Melbourne, May 11, 2011 AEST (ABN Newswire) - New Age Exploration Limited (ASX:NAE) announces that it has entered into binding agreements to acquire two exploration and mining concessions within the Cesar thermal coal basin in Colombia through the NAE-Aurora Partnership.

This acquisition follows the recent announcement that NAE has formed a partnership to pursue thermal and coking coal projects within Colombia with Aurora Energy S.A. ("Aurora"), a leading supplier of mining and processing equipment and consultancy services within the Colombian coal sector.

NAE Managing Director Gary Fietz commented, "We are very pleased to announce that our newly formed partnership with Aurora has successfully concluded its first transaction in Colombia. The Cesar Project acquisition represents a large underground export thermal coal target, strategically located in the world class Cesar Basin."

"The Cesar Project represents down dip extensions of adjacent major open pit export thermal coal mines and known deposits. We have commenced planning the first stage exploration program which will comprise of seismic re-interpretation and initial drilling."

"This transaction is the first step in the development of NAE's thermal and coking coal project portfolio in Colombia. We remain focussed on building on our portfolio and as such, we are continuing to review a number of other potential opportunities within Colombia."

The Cesar Coal Basin

The Cesar Basin is located in Northern Colombia in the Department of Cesar, approximately 100km south of the city of Valledupar.

The Cesar Basin contains a number of major open cut export thermal coal mines in which the economic coal seams are hosted by the Middle Los Cuervos Formation ("MLCF"). The MLCF typically contains multiple coal seams between 2m and 6m thick with a total coal thickness of up to 35m.

Major open pit export thermal coal mining operations in the Cesar Basin include Glencore (La Jagua and Calenturitas), Vale (NYSE:VALE) (SAO:VALE5) (El Hatillo), Drummond (El Descanso and La Loma-El Boqueron Mining Complex) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) (La Francia). Production from the Cesar Basin is currently circa 40Mtpa and is forecast to increase to over 75Mtpa by 2015.

Coal produced from the Cesar Basin is widely recognised as high quality, low sulphur thermal coal with calorific values in the range of 6,100 to 7,000 kcal/kg, which is exported primarily in European and North American thermal coal markets. Glencore's La Jagua operation also produces between 0.5 and 1.5Mtpa of high volatile Pulverized Coal Injection ("PCI") coal for sale to the metallurgical coal markets.

The Cesar Project

The Cesar Project consists of two concessions, GHN-121 (1,554 hectares) and GIK-103 (2,587 hectares) located in the south western edge of the Cesar thermal coal basin. The concessions are contiguous with concessions held by Drummond (Similoa, Rincon Hondo, and El Descanso Sur deposits, part of the La Loma-El Boqueron Mining Complex) and Vale (El Hatillo deposit).

Seismic interpretations indicate the target sequence (MLCF) is likely to be present on both of the Cesar Project concessions at depths generally accessible via conventional underground mining methods.

A conceptual exploration target of 200-800 million tonnes of export quality thermal coal has been identified at the Cesar Project.

Transportation Logistics

Rail

The majority of coal from the Cesar Basin is transported by rail approximately 200 km to a number of export port facilities near Santa Marta.

The rail line is operated and maintained by Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia ("Fenoco") which has been granted the railway concession from Chriguana to Santa Marta by the Colombian Government. Fenoco is owned by the major coal producing companies in the Cesar Basin, with Drummond holding a 40.96% interest and Glencore (Prodeco) holding a 39.76% interest. The remainder is held by Vale (8.43%) Carboandes and Carbones del Cesar.

The current capacity of the Fenoco rail line is approximately 50 Mtpa. Fenoco is currently undertaking a US$1.07 Billion project to expand the capacity of the line to 100 Mtpa, which is expected to be finished by 2015. The Fenoco line crosses one of the Cesar Project concessions acquired by NAE-Aurora.

Road

In addition, numerous road haulage options are available connecting to a number of major export ports on the northern coast of Colombia which are within 200 km from the Cesar Project concessions.

Ports

There are a number of export coal port options available to the NAE-Aurora Cesar Project in the Santa Marta and Barranquilla areas.

Rail and port access arrangements will be considered as part of the project development studies.

Transaction Overview

NAE and Aurora have signed a binding agreement to acquire 100% of the following Concessions granting the right to explore and mine coal in the Cesar Basin:
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Concession   Area      Date      Initial   Extension  Acquired From
          (Hectares)  Granted     Term     Available
----------------------------------------------------------------------
GHN-121     1,554   10.10.2006  30 Years   +30 Years  Nicanor Fontalvo
                                                      Ricaurte
----------------------------------------------------------------------
GIK- 103    2,587   07.12.2006  30 Years   +30 Years  Silvia Elena
                                                      Lopera Aguirre
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The key terms of the agreement are as follows:

- Initial Payment of US$200,000 on signing the agreement

- Second Payment of US$200,000 on completion of 90 day due diligence period

- Payment of US$0.075 - US$0.15 per tonne of underground JORC Measured Resource / US$0.50 - US$1.00 per tonne of open pit JORC Measured Resource - Total Measured Resource payments are capped at US$25 million

- Payment of US$1 million on commencement of commercial production

- Royalty payable of US$1.00 per tonne underground production and US$1.50 per tonne open pit production

- NAE holds a 90% interest and Aurora holds a 10% interest in the concessions with NAE-Aurora's combined interest governed by the terms of the recently announced NAE-Aurora Partnership Agreement

The transaction structure involves only small payments prior to definition of a JORC Measured Resource, allowing the majority of initial investment to be spent on exploration and development until such time as there is a high level of geological confidence in the resource.

Next Steps

The NAE-Aurora Partnership has commenced acquiring historical seismic data for the Cesar Project and is currently in the process of engaging geophysical consultants to reprocess and interpret the data. NAE anticipates that this process will take 1-2 months.

Upon completion, the seismic data will be used to plan an initial drilling program of up to 6 holes to confirm the presence of the MLCF and target seams and commence the delineation of a JORC resource for the Cesar Project.

For the complete New Age Exploration announcement including Figures, please refer to the following link below:
http://www.abnnewswire.net/media/en/docs/67426-ASX-NAE-354753.pdf


About New Age Exploration Limited

New Age ExplorationNew Age Exploration Limited (ASX:NAE) is a globally diversified minerals and metals exploration and development company focused on high value projects. The company is based in Australia,  with an advanced stage coking coal project in the United Kingdom, as well as an advancing gold exploration project in New Zealand.

 


Contact

Gary Fietz
Managing Director
New Age Exploration Limited
Tel: +61-3-9614-0600
Email: info@nae.net.au
http://nae.net.au/



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