Elko project plans to go open cut before underground

TO REDUCE the start-up capital requirements, Pacific American Coal’s Elko coking coal project in Canada should leverage the open cut opportunity at the site, according to Hatch, which completed a 3D mine site layout for the project.

Lou Caruana

These early open cut workings would provide geotechnical stability above the underground portals in addition to offering a level footprint that would support locating the required mine site infrastructure, it said.

The project infrastructure should also be scaleable as the operation transitions from an open cut operation to an underground operation.

“The Elko coking coal project has the capacity of being a 1-2 million tonnes per annum operation during the initial years of operation based on the resource containing an area suitable to a low strip ratio open cut mine,” Pacific American Coal said.

“The project then has the ability to expand production capacity over time as the underground operation is established.”

“The company sought to adopt a capital expenditure schedule over a broader time frame, with underground development expenditure occurring during a period when the operation is in cash flow.

“This approach maximises the capital efficiency of the project while minimising risk.”

According to Hatch, the mine site infrastructure should be located in a safe and easily accessibly area to the nearby public road and rail infrastructure.

The site for the mine opening and portal and the processing and infrastructure was positioned based on proximity to the identified JORC 2012 Measured Resource; minimising site impact and influence on natural features and watercourses; the need to establish a low impact open cut operation; and establishing a favourable topographic profile to safely position major processing and mine site infrastructure.

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