THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The Queensland Explorer and Miner of the year awards were presented during the opening session of the Mining 2014 Conference in Brisbane.
A packed auditorium watched on as Minister for Natural Resources and Mining Andrew Cripps handed out the framed certificates.
The Explorer of the year nominees were Hammer Metals, Minotaur Exploration Ltd and Senex Energy.
The Miner of the year nominees were Evolution Mining, CopperChem and QCoal.
Winner of the Explorer award was Minotaur Exploration (ASX: MEP), which recently, along with its Eloise copper Joint Venture partners, committed to a $6 million accelerated exploration program through to June 2015.
The program is to include new ground geophysics and deep drilling at the Artemis copper-gold-zinc prospect 50 kilometres southeast of Cloncurry in Queensland.
Twenty kilometres west of the Eloise copper mine the company’s first drill hole encountered a zone of massive sulphides, returning 22 metres at three per cent copper, 3.8 grams per tonne gold, 112g/t silver and 6.6 per cent zinc from 157m.
Accepting the award Minotaur Exploration executive director Tony Belperio said it was a pleasure to accept the award, particularly on behalf of the company’s technical team.
Minotaur Exploration executive director Tony Belperio receives the award from Minister Andrew Cripps
“They worked very, very hard,” he said.
“It was a fantastic discover – planned methodically, executed and there it was.
“We have only put three holes into the body, but the drill rigs are back this week and we look forward to a very exciting three to six months when we have some new information coming out of this deposit.”
The Miner of the Year award was picked up by QCoal. The company’s Byerwen coal project in the Bowen Basin is the most recent coal operation the independent company has developed.
The company has been developing coal projects in Queensland for over 25 years.
Byerwen is forecast to produce up to 10 million tonnes of premium hard coking coal per year, and will employ a construction workforce of up to 350 and 500 during operation.
It has an expected mine life of 50 years.
The company was not expecting the win, exemplified by the company’s Leith McLaughlin who was standing at the rear of the auditorium and had to fight his way to the stage.
QCoal’s Leith McLaughlin receives the Miner of the Year award
“This is a bit of a surprise,” he said.
“We look very much forward to getting on with the job of opening the Byerwen coal project in the coming months.”