Montem Resources (ASX: MR1) has completed test work on coking coal at its Chinook Vicary project in Alberta province, with results indicating that it has “excellent” coke strength.
The company is planning to re-start mining there after a gap of more than 40 years.
The coal’s coke strength after reaction (CSR) values range from 66 to 74 which, along with its other attributes, places the material “precisely” in the specification range for Premium Low Vol Hard Coking Coal.
Those other attributes are low ash of 9.1%, volatile matter at 21.4%, total sulphur at 0.48%, favourable rank 1.31% and CSR at 70.
Montem managing director and chief executive officer Peter Doyle said to get CSR numbers over 70 for low-volatile hard coking coal puts Vicary “back in the top bracket of hard coking coal available on the global market”.
These test results come from the coal exploration reported in November which confirmed the occurrence of near surface, structurally thickened zones of coal suitable for future open cut extraction.
Mr Doyle says the company is excited that these tests confirm tier one hard coking coal at Chinook Vicary.
The project area contains the historic Vicary mine.
‘Exceptional’ coal quality previously mined
Montem’s aim has been to confirm the quality of Chinook Vicary’s hard coking coal which historically was supplied to the Japanese steel industry from the Vicary mine that closed in the late 1970s.
“The last time we met with [the Japanese] in Tokyo, they remarked on the exceptional quality of the coal from Vicary and showed us the product specification from the old mine,” Mr Doyle said.
“So, we always knew there was potential for high quality coal at Chinook, and we are really pleased to confirm this with modern testing,” he added.
The test results will be used to complete an update of the JORC resource estimate for Chinook Vicary.
Drilling has intersected thick coal seams
Chinook Vicary has a strike length of more than 40km of identified coal resources and is made up of two areas — Chinook Vicary and Chinook South.
Chinook has a JORC resource estimate of 149 million tonnes of coal, of which 103Mt is indicated, the remainder inferred.
Chinook also contains an additional coal exploration target estimate between 125-450Mt at Chinook Vicary.
Montem’s Canadian projects are located in the Crowsnest Pass of southwest Alberta province and contain 2092 million tonnes (Mt) of resources. This overall resource is divided into 3.7Mt measured, 151.9Mt indicated and 53.7Mt inferred.
In January, Montem reported that 13 drill holes at its Chinook Vicary project had intersected thick coal seams.
The cumulative coal thickness across those holes was an average thickness of 22.7m.
The company said the drilling confirmed the occurrence of near-surface, structurally thickened coal zones suited to open cut mining.
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.
Mining there is expected to begin in the first half of 2022 at the annual rate of 1.1 million tonnes.