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PERTH, Feb 14 AAP

February 14 2013, 3:23PM

Queensland coal explorer Cuesta Coal says it has received approval to explore tenements in which it has a joint stake with a company controlled by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

QCI (Galilee) Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hancock Prospecting, will be able to earn up to a 51 per cent interest in the Snake Creek Joint Venture for its two-stage, $3 million investment.

Cuesta Coal has a portfolio of thermal and coking coal exploration prospects within the Bowen, Surat and Galilee basins in Queensland.

The company's core projects are on 11,000 square kilometres of exploration ground.

At 1513 AEDT shares in Cuesta Coal were flat at 13 cents.