The Julia Creek resource
Blue Ensign’s oil shale resource is near Julia Creek in Northwest Queensland, about 650 km west of Townsville and 250 km east of the major mining centre of Mt Isa.
With a cut-off grade of 40 litres/tonne and an average grade of 70 litres/tonne, three contiguous Mining Development Licences cover some 93 km2 and contain total Indicated and Inferred Resources of oil shale equivalent to 895 million barrels of shale oil producible by conventional retorting.
These resources correspond to a potential resource of 1.5-2 billion barrels of synthetic crude oil using the high-yield Rendall process.
The resource estimate is derived from drill hole and Fischer Assay databases of prior tenement owners, mainly CSR Ltd, which spent almost $20 million [money-of-the-day] on exploration in the Julia Creek district between 1968 and 1998. It is thus one of the most extensively evaluated oil shale deposits in the world.
Blue Ensign’s permits cover most of the core area of the Julia Creek deposit, with good oil shale grades and an average overburden depth of about 30 m. The shallow deposit underlies a flat terrain and is well-suited to open-pit strip mining. The average stripping ratio over at least the first ten years of operation will be approximately 3:1.