Montem Resources (ASX: MR1) reports preliminary geological field mapping at its Isola coal project in Alberta, Canada has identified multiple coal seams.
This initial work program has further defined an exploration target of up to 275 million tonnes, which could be mined as an open pit, and up to 900Mt for underground mining.
The news follows last month’s announcement that drilling had begun at the Chinook Vicary prospect in Alberta.
Montem listed last month after wrapping up an $8 million initial public offering.
Led by veteran coal industry figure Peter Doyle, Montem brought to the market two previously worked coking (or metallurgical) coal mines and several greenfield projects.
Its Canadian projects are all located in the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta province and contain 209.2Mt of coal resources. This overall resource is divided into 3.7Mt measured, 151.9Mt indicated and 53.7Mt inferred.
Rail and port access have been established for exporting the coal.
Coal seams mapped along roads, creeks
The Isola project totals 4,832 hectares and adjoins the Isolation South project owned by Atrum Coal (ASX: ATU) on its southern border. The western edge adjoins Atrum’s Cabin Ridge project.
Montem said geologists have mapped coal seam exposures along road cuts and creek beds at Isola. The field program has also located historical coal seam trenches.
Access routes to the project have been investigated to assist planning.
“Overall, the program was successful, locating five coal seam exposures along Isolation Creek and confirming the previously shallow dipping … stratigraphy of the project,” the company reported.
Montem managing director Peter Doyle said the company is excited by the potential that has been demonstrated.
“With an open cut exploration target of up to 275Mt, and an underground exploration target of up to 900Mt, the Isola project may have the potential to host large-scale mining operations,” he said.
Montem is planning an extensive drilling program to begin in the next northern summer at Isola.
Meanwhile, the company said the drilling program at Chinook Vicary should finish next week.
Hard coking coal to supply export market
Montem’s aim at Chinook Vicary is to confirm the quality of the area’s hard coking coal, which historically was supplied to the Japanese steel industry from the Vicary mine before it closed in the 1970s.
The company also plans to reopen the Tent Mountain mine, which closed in 1983 due to poor market conditions. That mine was another operation that produced high quality coal for export to Japan.
A mining licence application is being finalised for Tent Mountain and is expected to be lodged this quarter with the Alberta regulators.
Mining is expected to begin in the first half of 2022 at the annual rate of 1.1Mt.
Montem’s mines are located near operations run by Canadian giant Teck Resources, one of the country’s major producers and exporters of coking coal.