Atrum Coal NL (ASX: ATU) said in a Sept. 25 report filed at the Australian Securities Exchange that it has upgraded the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC)-compliant inferred and indicated resources at its Groundhog metallurgical coal project in British Columbia by 220% to 159 million tonnes.
That 159 million tonnes is made up of 57.1 million tonnes indicated and 101.9 million tones inferred. The upgraded estimate is a result of access to 2008 drilling data at Groundhog as well as regional historical data from 1970 to 1985 under a July data sharing arrangement with Anglo Pacific plc.
Ongoing drilling at Groundhog with two rigs is designed to expand the JORC resource in the measured, indicated and inferred categories as well as test for coal quality. This work and structural interpretation is expected to lead to a further JORC resources upgrade in the first quarter of 2013.
Coal quality testing done by previous exploration companies has demonstrated the potential to wash the coal and achieve a 65% yield with low impurities, less than 10% ash, low volatile matter, a fixed carbon content in excess of 85% and calorific value ranging from 7,500 Kcal to 8,000 Kcal. The property has low-vol semi-anthracite coal that could be sold in the pulverized coal injection market.
Coal seams occur at or near surface and have a tendency to dip down gently before re-approaching the surface. Eight economic coal seams have been identified to a depth of 200 meters that have the potential to increase the coal resources through deeper drilling. Moose Mountain Technical Services has been commissioned to complete a full technical report with respect to the resource upgrade that is expected to be complete by the end of October, Atrum said.
Groundhog is located in the northern part of the Bowser Basin in northwestern British Columbia. A British Columbia Railway line foundation runs along the south border of the property, Atrum noted. CN Rail operates under a long-term lease agreement with British Columbia Railway.