The company, which secured regulatory approval, is working to ensure that the planned extraction meets the statutory requirements.

Prior to proceeding with extraction of the bulk sample, the firm implemented health and safety plans, and upgraded the access road.

Strategic Minerals non-executive-chairman Alan Broome said: "The company has been working towards the commencement of the bulk sample extraction as a key step in completing its assessment for the commissioning of the mine works at Tatu.

"Accordingly, the commencement is an important and exciting step for the company, which plans to lever off this information to identify potential customers for the produced coal and assess their interest in future purchases."

Strategic Minerals plans to ascertain likely product demand in New Zealand following completion of laboratory work associated with the bulk extraction.

Additionally, the firm will continue to review funding alternatives.

Strategic Minerals signed a share purchase agreement in March to acquire the Tatu project through the purchase of King Country Mining.

The mine is planned to have an expected output of 100,000 tons during this first construction year and would significantly reach to 200,000 per annum.

The company estimates the mine to have high quality thermal energy coal with a resource of 7.3 million tons with an average coal seam thickness of greater than 2m.

Image: The Tatu coal mine in New Zealand is expected to have output of 100,000 tons during this first construction year. Photo: courtesy of dan/