QUEENSLAND Coal Investments - a company owned by Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart - has drilled six exploration holes in the Maryborough Basin to the north and northwest of Bundaberg as part of its joint venture agreement with International Coal Ltd.
The samples showed coal seams had been encountered at 60 metres with more significant seams up to a drilling depth of 300 metres.
Coal thickness of around 5.5 metres to 6.5 metres had been discovered.
Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Mal Forman said he was delighted that test drilling in the region was returning positive results.
Cr Forman said the company had also undertaken test drilling at a tenement west of the Avondale site but this had not produced samples of interest.
"It really is encouraging news for the region. Queensland Coal Investments have been exemplary in the manner in which they have undertaken exploration in the region."
"They have observed cultural heritage requirements as well as seeking landholder and Council consent to undertake their activities.
"Additionally, Queensland Coal Industries are utilising Bundaberg-based businesses Down Force Drilling and Donaldson Mining to undertake work in the area."
Cr Forman said the results of the drilling had been released to the Australian Securities Exchange.