Atrum Coal affiliate to take on Elan property in Canada

Kuro Coal Ltd., a subsidiary of Australia’s Atrum Coal NL which is to be separately listed on an Australian exchange following an Initial Public Offering, said Sept. 3 that it has agreed to acquire up to a 70% interest in the Elan Coking Coal Project in Alberta, Canada.

The acquisition will take place through a joint venture between Kuro and Elan.

Commenting on the joint venture, Atrum Coal Executive Director and Kuro Coal Non-Executive Director Gino D’Anna stated: “Atrum is solely focused on taking its world class Groundhog anthracite project through to production, so Kuro can provide Atrum shareholders with exposure to an exciting exploration venture as well as commodity and jurisdictional diversification. The Elan acquisition is an outstanding coking coal opportunity and fits Kuro’s Canadian metallurgical coal strategy.”

Elan Executive Director Gene Wusaty stated: “This joint venture will provide Elan with the opportunity to become a tier one coking coal project. Alberta is ranked third by the Fraser Institute as the best mining jurisdiction worldwide and is host to some of the highest quality coking coal. We are excited to be working with the Kuro team.”

Elan will be the subject of further near-term exploration

Elan is located in the foothills and front ranges of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, about 30 kilometers north of Coleman. The Elan project is made up o 27 Alberta Crown Coal Lease applications covering an area of about 22,951 hectares. The necessary permits to undertake exploration are currently held by Elan.

The majority of the project can be accessed via paved highways as well as a system of limited use roads and access trails. The development of ground access in and around the project area will allow the company to undertake exploration with ground based drill rigs with minimal reliance on air support to conduct exploration and development.

Historical exploration drilling on and near Elan suggests there are 10 to 16 coal seams that range from three to 10 meters in thickness. Additional drilling in the area will confirm the economic potential of these coal seams and the company will prioritize the drilling to enable the completion of a pre-feasibility study at Elan. Coal rank is low- to mid-vol bituminous with variable but generally moderate ash content, plus good washability and coking properties.

The property hosts a JORC compliant Indicated and Inferred Resource (in accordance with 2012 JORC guidelines) of 146.5 million tonnes. In addition to the current JORC Resources, Elan hosts an Exploration Target of 743 million tonnes of low- to mid-vol bituminous coal that requires additional drilling prior to completing resource definition. 

Grassy North, which falls within Livingstone Trend, has been identified as the primary exploration target. This target is located on the southernmost leases of the property package and is proximal to established infrastructure. Pursuant to the joint venture, over the next six months the company plans to undertake a drilling program at Elan which will focus on twinning a select number of historical drill holes to confirm coal seam thickness and coal quality.

The southern part of Elan is highway accessible by driving about 20 kilometers north from Coleman via Kananaskis Highway. The northern part of the property can be accessed 42 kilometers north of Coleman, via the Kananaskis Highway and the Oldman River Route.

A secondary Canadian Pacific rail line runs through Coleman and connects with the main CNR east-west line for access to Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports or as far as the Great Lakes eastwardly. Several coal mines, including the Teck Coal and Coal Mountain mines, are currently in operation in the area.

In May, Atrum announced that Kuro would develop the Panorama Anthracite Project under a joint venture. In light of Atrum’s strategy to be the world’s largest producer and exporter of high-grade anthracite, it has decided to retain Panorama. Kuro will not be developing Panorama. Atrum will be undertaking exploration at Panorama as soon as a Notice of Works has been granted for the relevant coal licenses.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.