The ‘Project F’ Extension Area recorded 3.4km of strike with average cumulative coal thickness of 15m, with results including cumulative coal thickness of 15m from 11m below surface, 27m from 12m, 21m from 40m and 25m from 26m.
Drilling has also confirmed that coal units thicken along strike to the east of Project F and 13 of the holes drilled to date have cumulative coal thicknesses of between 5m and 27m.
The first two holes intersected coal in the Middle Chukchi Formation in the Western Target area, just 10km west of the Project F planned open pit.
The company reported that it had reduced resource and exploration costs “substantially” by acquiring and operating its own drill rig, with drilling to continue cover coming months on the shallow, thick seams, with further “excellent” results expected.
The thick seams discovered in the Project F eastern extensions will be incorporated into the Project F development plan; and initial development work will continue at Project F ahead of finalising the financing and start of the full development.
CEO Craig Parry said the results were the best in the company’s history, with very thick, shallow seams that will generate even better project economics when factored into the Project F mine plan.
“Our exploration in the Bering coal basin has generated exceptional results that demonstrate the project’s potential, and we expect very high rates of conversion from exploration target to resources as we drill the seams out,” Parry said.
The company has also discovered high vitrinite coal of the same type at the Amaam project to the west of Project F, which he said may provide some blending opportunities to improve coking properties and meet customer requirements.
He said the results confirm Project F’s economic viability, and the company expects it will be one of the lowest cost mining and export coking coal operations globally.
The Amaam North drilling results follow recent completion of the Project F bankable feasibility study which demonstrated a short lead time to first production late next year and grant of the Project F mining licence for 20 years as of December 2, 2014.
Success of the 2013-14 exploration works to the south and east of Amaam North’s project F will lead to the company expanding its current measured and indicated resource base in the Eastern Project F area and lead to an initial resource from the Western Target area.
All this work follows Tigers’ exploration team completing a detailed mapping expedition of the Amaam North Licence area in the Russian summer of 2013 which led to the discovery of a Middle Chukchi coal bearing syncline, 11km west of the current Project F area.