In October 2011 Australian Pacific Coal finalised an agreement to market its calcium bentonite, a naturally occurring clay mineral found at Mantuan Downs in Central Queensland. Australian Pacific Coal has come to an agreement providing Fertoz with exclusive rights to sell its calcium bentonite for a minimum period of 12 months. The Mantuan Downs project, operated by IPR Coal, had been on care and maintenance until the deal was recently finalised. Fertoz has developed a number of products based on bentonite for use in industrial, livestock, agricultural, soil improvement and composting applications.
About 6000 tonnes of processed product was initially available for immediate sale at the time the deal with Fertoz was made. Once this stockpile was depleted IPR Coal would re-start mining of additional product, on a cost recovery basis, to replenish the stockpile of product available to Fertoz.
Drilling undertaken at the mine’s Area A bentonite deposit delineated an inferred and measured mineral resource exceeding 10 million tonnes of near surface high quality calcium bentonite. This was possibly the largest known and best quality calcium bentonite deposit in Queensland, with a potential mine life exceeding 100 years at an expected production rate of between 40,000 tonnes per annum and 100,000 tonnes per annum. The Area A deposit contains two main calcium bentonite horizons that are essentially flat lying and separated by a narrow fine-grain variably silicified and argillized sandstone. The upper bentonite zone is the best developed and near the middle of the deposit averages 4-4.5 metres thick. The lower bentonite zone is also continuous throughout the area drilled and near the centre of the deposit is between more than 2m and 4m thick.