Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC

CANADIAN producer Compliance Energy has received confirmation from core testing that coal at the planned Raven complex in British Columbia is a high-volatile bituminous A product.
Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC Raven coal quality confirmed: CEC

The coal seam at the Raven Coal deposit

Donna Schmidt

Testing was completed by GWIL Industries’ Birtley Coal & Mineral Testing Division in Calgary, Alberta, and SGS North America’s Mineral Services Division in West Virginia on cores from Compliance’s 2009 drilling program at the Vancouver Island operation.

If all progresses as scheduled, the mine could see its first coal cut in 2012.

“The characteristics of this type of coal allow it to be blended with other coking coals (low to mid volatile) for the production of coke used in steel making,” officials said Thursday.

“The Raven coal exhibits similar characteristics to The Kellerman and Elkhorn Group (Blend Group G5) of coals under the Classification of Coking Coal By Quality By Group used historically by Nippon Steel Corporation.”

Compliance also noted that the drill program has, as anticipated, confirmed coal seam continuity.

“In the 42 drillholes completed, a total of 9899 meters was drilled and coal was intersected in all but one of the 42 holes,” the company said.

It added that washability tests also confirmed preparation plant yield assumptions used in its 2007 preliminary assessment by Associated Geosciences.

Officials pointed out that the coal from Raven was unique in the western Canada region, exhibiting strong coking properties but having a low resultant coke strength.

‘Typical western Canadian coals are medium or low volatile, inertinite-rich coking coals and the Raven Coal is a high volatile vitrinite-rich coking coal that is similar to high volatile coking coals from eastern Canada, the eastern USA and some parts of Australia,” the company said.

Raven’s preparation plant yield of washed coal (10% ash) is expected to range between 40-45% per coal washability tests performed on the first seam.

Compliance anticipated the overall yield may be able to increase to 55-60% by also producing a middlings product with higher ash content, which could have the potential to be sold as a thermal product.

“If a washed coal of 15 per cent ash was produced as a standalone product, plant yield would increase to over 60 per cent,” the company noted.

The complex’s preparation plant design is being studied by consultant Pincock Allen and Holt under the umbrella of raven’s overall feasibility study.

While CEC officials initially said the feasibility study could likely be completed next month, the report is now expected to wrap in this year’s third quarter.

“Good overall progress is being made on the Raven Project [and] PAH is making good progress on the mining feasibility study,” officials said.

“The geological modeling is close to completion and a resource update is expected in the near future.

“Mine planning has commenced and PAH has confirmed that based on geotechnical testing of rock core, the Raven Underground Coal Mine is expected to have ‘...roof and floor conditions that are comparable to many other mines operating in the USA that have devised successful strategies for mining and effective strata control’”

Raven’s Section 11 Order was issued under BC's Environmental Assessment Act in early March.

CEC expects the BC Environmental Assessment Office to initiate a public review and comment period in the next few months, after which it will submit an environmental assessment certificate application.

Compliance is developing Raven in a joint venture signed in February with Japanese firm Itochu Corporation and Korea-based LG International. Both companies have elected Compliance as the complex’s managing owner.

While many details of the operation won’t be known until the feasibility study is completed, the thickness data as well as the location of identified structural faults in the resource reveal Raven will most likely have a long future as a slope-portal, room and pillar operation.

Due to an outcrop on the western side that dips to the east and northeast at about 15%, overburden will vary with location.

On the eastern side, engineers have estimated 300-400m of cover, but on average the depth will be 150-200m.

Compliance officials expect Raven will have about 125 workers when it is commissioned in mid-2012.

It expects all necessary permitting to wrap by the end of this year so that construction can begin in the first quarter of 2011.

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