Special report: Bowen Coking Coal has hit all the target seams, including the key Mammoth seam, in the latest drilling aimed at upgrading the resource of its Cooroorah coking coal project.

The project already hosts 154 million tonnes of high-quality coking coal, with 69 million tonnes of that in the higher confidence “indicated” category and 85 million tonnes in the “inferred” category.

Mineral resources are categorised in order of increasing geological confidence as inferred, indicated or measured.

By moving resources into the indicated category, it means a company has sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

One of the goals of the latest round of drilling is to convert some of the inferred resource for the Mammoth seam into the higher confidence indicated category.

And BCB looks to be on the right track.

Geophysical logging of the first hole has confirmed the presence of the Mammoth seam at 4.5m thick.

BCB said the seam appears very clean and devoid of any stone bands — similar to intersections in a previous exploration program.

The first hole is strategically located towards the East of the tenement — also the deepest part of the Mammoth resource area — to test the seam continuance closer to the interpreted Jellinbah fault.

BCB said the intersections confirm its confidence in the geological model and seam continuance predictions.

Prime location

The Coorooorah project lies between newly-listed Coronado Global Resources’ (ASX: CRN) Curragh mine and the Anglo, Marubeni and Sojitz owned Jellinbah mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

The Bowen Basin, a 60,000 sq km area in central Queensland, hosts Australia’s biggest coal reserves and virtually all of the known mineable prime coking coal, according to the Bowen Basin Underground Geotechnical Society.’

US-based Coronado Coal is the biggest coal mining float since Yancoal Australia’s $1.5 billion listing in 2012.

Coronado is one of the biggest metallurgical coal producers outside of the major diversified miners.

The same coal seams that run through the former Wesfamers-owned Curragh mine, which produces 8.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal each year, also extend into BCB’s tenements.

The Cooroorah project hosts the same type of coal structure — known as the Rangal coal measures — mined at Curragh.

The Rangal coal measures are extensively mined throughout the Bowen Basin to supply high quality coking, pulverised coal injection (PCI) and thermal coal for the seaborne market.

Coking coal is vital in steel production.

PCI is commonly used in blast furnaces as a replacement for coke in the steelmaking industry, and trades at a premium to semi-soft coking coal.

BCB recently completed an exploration program that delivered coal quality results that were significantly better than earlier results.

The results showed that the Cooroorah project has excellent coking coal properties indicating a potential 3.5 per cent ash, CSN 8-9 primary coking coal and a secondary 7560 kcal/kg high energy, low volatile PCI product, at a combined laboratory yield of about 90 per cent.

Drilling continues

The drill rig is expected to move to the next site to test an underexplored area between the JORC resource and the historic resource after the coring of the coal seams in the first hole are completed.

JORC refers to the mining industry’s official code for reporting exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, managed by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee.

Coal cores are now being shipped to the laboratory and the coal quality analysis results are expected late in the first quarter of next year.

The current drilling program is scheduled for completion before Christmas subject to weather conditions.


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