GINA Rinehart's joint venture partner, International Coal, has revealed a surprisingly high-quality coal discovery near Bundaberg.
International Coal told the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday that results at one drill hole near Bundaberg, in the Maryborough Basin, had returned an extremely high-quality coking coal.
News Ltd reports Mrs Rinehart's company, Queensland Coal Investments, struck a deal last year with International Coal in which QCI will spend $3 million on exploring tenements in the Maryborough Basin in exchange for a potential 51% interest in the project.
International Coal chief executive Glenn Simpson said the results of the explorer's drilling program so far were pleasing, but he stressed the company had "a long way to go" to prove it had a viable project.
Mr Simpson said the company would need to wait for conditions to improve before drilling could restart.
In an announcement to the ASX on Wednesday, the company expressed its deepest sympathy for the damage suffered by the Bundaberg community recently.
"The Bundaberg community has been welcoming and understanding of our project activities, and our thoughts are with those now who have lost property, sustained damage and face the challenge of the rebuild ahead," a statement read.