Atrum Coal is preparing for site operations to extract bulk samples of anthracite at its Groundhog project in British Columbia, Canada, for supply to potential customers, primarily in Japan and South Korea.
The preparations follow the granting of a Bulk Sample Permit in early May, which allows the company to mine 100 000 t of ultra-high-grade anthracite by cut-and-cover surface and underground mining.
The anthracite will be supplied to potential customers for testing in blastfurnaces and sinter plants. “Since the award of the permit, the company has fielded numerous enquiries from anthracite users around the world seeking samples for test purposes,” the company said in a recent ASX release.
Under the permit, the company is able to establish ground-based access to the Groundhog site, which had not been possible before. This will help reduce onsite costs, mobilise significant project equipment and establish the production supply chain to market.
“Establishing the transportation route will allow Atrum to demonstrate its capability to develop a reliable and sustainable supply chain from the world’s largest high-grade/ultra-high-grade anthracite deposit,” the company said.
Initial construction work – including the ground-based access to Groundhog North – is planned to commence during the 2016 construction season. Bulk sample mining activities will follow immediately after.
During this next phase of development, the company also said it would evaluate the potential to supply anthracite to speciality users in high-value markets, such as filtration media and activated carbon, as well as the supply of upgraded anthracite to industrial smelters, to users of calcined anthracite and to the synthetic graphite market.
“While the company has maintained conservative pricing assumptions in all economic analyses, these high-value markets represent a genuine opportunity to achieve materially higher margins for custom washed and custom sized fractions of ultra-high-grade anthracite,” the company said.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.