Atrum Coal buoyed on Elan South coking coal testing

Atrum Coal ASX ATU Elan South coking coal testing
Atrum Coal has described Elan South as a 'tier one' hard coking coal asset following recent testing.

Atrum Coal (ASX: ATU) says it now has heightened confidence in the coal quality of its Elan South coking coal project in Canada following recent test work.

The Melbourne-based company unveiled results on composite samples from the 2018 coring program, which Atrum said confirmed the tier-one coal quality of the asset, located in south-western Alberta.

The testing of Elan South coal ash composition values indicated a high level of acidic ash components and a low level of basic ash components.

Coking properties included an average of 71% for coke strength after reaction while coke yield totalled 77%.

Atrum said the acid-to-base ratio of around 11 underscored strong ash properties which positively affect the ash fusion temperatures as well as coke reactivity.

According to the company, Elan South’s hard coking coal (HCC) is expected to be comparable to, and highly competitive with, premium HCC currently exported from Canada and Australia.

“We are very pleased with the latest test results, which reinforce the tier one quality of the hard-coking coal at Elan South,” Atrum non-executive director George Edwards said.

“The Elan South development has now evidenced the clear potential to produce a premium hard coking coal product that would be in strong demand by steel mills around the globe and expected to command tier one market pricing.”

Earlier this year, the company announced a 170% jump in the hard-coking coal resource at Elan South, taking the resource to 97 million tonnes comprising 31Mt indicated and 66Mt inferred.

The Elan project includes 27 coal exploration tenements spread over approximately 229 square kilometres. The tenements are known to contain shallow emplacements of high-quality hard coking coal of the Mist Mountain Formation (Kootenay Group).

Accelerated field work

Earlier this week, Atrum announced details of an expanded and accelerated 2019 field program for the Elan project following its recently completed $20 million institution equity raising.

Most of the planned 20,000m drilling campaign in 2019 will be devoted to the flagship Elan South development area in a bid to expand the existing resource and upgrade its classification.

Meanwhile, extensional and infill drilling is also planned for the Isolation South area, which is part of the Elan North tenements.

Atrum said the phased drilling campaign would be interspersed with geological review and analysis and further coal quality testing.

Advancing Elan South

Atrum is rapidly moving Elan South towards development, with a scoping study set to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

This will then feed into a pre-feasibility study, which, along with an environmental impact assessment, is earmarked to be finished by the second-half of 2020.

“This approach is naturally aimed at achieving permitting of an Elan South development as rapidly as possible,” the company added.

In parallel, the company is advancing stakeholder consultation and contract negotiations in relation to road building and drilling, with the preparation of site access roads for exploration and environmental monitoring already underway.

Atrum shares jumped 11.8% to $0.330 in afternoon trade.

Lauren has more than seven years’ experience as a business journalist and editor in Australia and Southeast Asia. With specialist knowledge of the resources sector, including oil and gas, she has covered publicly listed companies of all sizes. Lauren has reported across a range of industries including mining and property.