Guildford Coal has secured the mining licence at its South Gobi project located in Mongolia.
The company said it will commence first production by the first half of 2012.
The company now plans to complete the scoping study in early February and an agreement with a mining contractor and an off take agreements by end March.
Guildford is evaluating between 2Mtpa & 4Mtpa production from the North pit.
Initial test work results confirm the presence of raw coking coal and a raw higher ash product and the presence of hard coking coal towards the eastern end of strike.
Guildford said the licence offer the potential start-up of an open cut mine operating halfway through the year.
Its JORC resource has also been upgraded to 70.4 million tonnes of coking coal, up from 63.1 million tonnes.
The project has the ability to support near-term development with the potential to be a 4 million mt/year coking coal operation.