Tri-Star has explored coal deposits in the Pedirka basin in the Northern Territory and South Australia since 2006. The company’s 23 Pedirka exploration licences cover approximately 10% of the basin’s 150,000 km2.

Exploration to date indicates the presence of several coal seams in an area 70 kilometres by 30 kilometres wide, with thick sections of coal at depths of approximately 200 metres.

Further investigation is warranted and may eventually lead to significant thermal coal mining operations in the future, comparable to projects proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

What is Coal?

Coal is a black or brown sedimentary, organic rock composed primarily from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and smaller amounts of hydrocarbons. Coal is formed from ancient vegetation existing approximately 100 to 400 million years ago. The transformation from vegetation to coal begins when the vegetation dies and becomes covered in various layers of dirt and water. The added effects of heat and pressure over a long time eventually transform the dead vegetation into coal. Coal takes a long time to mature and become hard, ready for extraction.

How is Coal extracted?

Coal is extracted from the ground using one of two methods, underground mining or open cut mining.

Underground Mining

Underground mining is the process used to extract coal that may be located hundreds of metres below the surface. Shafts are dug straight down into the coal which is used by machines and mine workers to extract the coals. Other factors involved with underground mining include ventilation, electricity and support systems.

Open-Cut Mining

Open-cut mining is used to extract coal that is located closer to the surface. It involves machines removing the top layers of dirt and rock to expose the coal. A sloping road is then created to allow trucks to transport the coal from the pit to the surface.