The project team and equipment, along with environmental specialists, are being mobilised on site to commence pre-construction activities.
Pacific American is fully funded for the program and management is now focused on planning the next phase of development towards obtaining full project approval.
Chairman Geoff Hill said it was an exciting time for the company as it commenced drilling activities.
Hill said: “Positive results from the drilling will enable us to move quickly towards the next phase with the ultimate goal of bringing a new world class coking coal mine into production.
“We remain unique amongst our peers, with a fully funded exploration program and additional cash for other activities.”
Up to 11 holes in phase I
The company has signed a contract with an established drilling contractor to drill up to 11 exploration holes at the site.
This contract includes the supply of drilling rigs, as well as all supporting equipment, supplies and personnel to undertake the reverse circulation drilling and 3-inch coring.
A local construction firm has been contracted to construct the access roads and drill pads required for the program.
Under the approved notice of work the company is required to conduct several environmental surveys on planned river crossing and certain sections of the planned access roads, including archaeological, water and fish, and bird call surveys.
Exploration will focus on improving the coal quality information, identifying general structural trends and collecting coal core from the identified high value seams.
Construction is expected to take around 1-2 months, with the drill rig due on site within 3-4 weeks.
Subject to weather conditions, the drilling phase is expected to take around two months, and the entire program to be concluded in the last quarter of 2018.
Assays and analytical results, including an updated geological model, is planned for completion in the first quarter of 2019.