Australian explorer Atrum Coal (ASX: ATU) has reported a 170% jump in the hard coking coal resource at its Elan South deposit in Canada, as part of an updated resource estimate released today.
The new resource of 97 million tonnes comprises 31Mt indicated and 66Mt inferred and represents an increase of 61Mt on the original 36Mt estimate released in 2017.
The potential magnitude of the deposit has been compared to the neighbouring Grassy Mountain project owned by Riversdale Resources, which hosts a stated resource of 195Mt, comprising 85Mt measured and 110Mt indicated.
Atrum non-executive chairman Charles Blixt said the updated resource was driven by the company’s 2018 exploration program and validates the belief that Elan South holds substantial resources.
“We are equally encouraged by initial results from our current detailed coal quality testwork program which has confirmed the presence of a low ash, high yield, low sulphur, hard coking coal,” he said.
“Both outcomes strongly reinforce our strategy of rapidly advancing Elan South towards potential development as a premium hard coking coal operation.”
Mr Blixt said updated resource estimates for other deposits within the greater Elan coking coal project are expected later this month.
The Elan project comprises 27 coal exploration tenements spread over approximately 229 square kilometres and known to contain shallow emplacements of high-quality hard coking coal of the Mist Mountain Formation (Kootenay Group).
Teck Resources operates five mines approximately 40km to the west of Elan in the same Mist Mountain Formation, producing approximately 25Mt per annum of mostly hard coking coal for the global steel industry.
Elan South hard coal seams are believed to correspond directly to horizons of the same Mist Mountain Formation found in the Teck’s mines.
Mr Blixt said results from the 2018 exploration program have “significantly improved” the company’s understanding of Elan South’s structural geology and identified several under-explored target areas which have been earmarked for further drilling.
Planning of the 2019 field program is currently underway, with Eastern Elan South comprising the primary exploration target area, and additional boreholes expected at the Central Ridge and Cat Mountain targets.
At midday, shares in Atrum Coal were trading 11.11% higher at $0.10.