New seams open for Pike

PIKE River Coal has more evidence of three separate and additional coal seams beneath its key Brunner seam at its namesake mine in the Paparoa Ranges on New Zealand’s South Island.

Blair Price

Uncovered by a new exploration hole from the surface that drilled to more than 250m below Brunner, Pike chief executive Gordon Ward said the seams had individual thicknesses of 2.2m, 3.4m and 5.4m.

He added the drilling test was the first in 20 years and despite being an encouraging result, did not prove the extent of the new resource.

The new hole was 600m north of the ventilation shaft and 1900m northeast of a previous hole into the new seam targets and Pike said the seams consisted of low-sulfur hard coking coal.

Pike said the first seam was intersected 140m below Brunner while the third and thickest intersection was 240m below.

“The only previous core hole, located close to the western outcrop along the Paparoa Ranges and about 1.3 kilometres southwest of the ventilation shaft, intersected six thin seams with just one seam of about two metres thickness,” Pike said.

“The current hole appears to have all the seams represented, but all seams have thickened appreciably.”

Test results are due in a few weeks while Pike plans to conduct more test drilling using an in-seam drilling rig underground over the next 18 months as mining of the Brunner seam continues.

“Analysis from the original test drilling nearly 20 years ago and sampling along the western outcrop of the Paparoa Ranges showed the Paparoa seams vary in thickness with potential for up to 8 million tonnes of recoverable coal,” Pike said.

If proven to be economically viable, Ward said Pike would benefit from the new Paparoa seams as much of the necessary infrastructure was already in place.

Listed on both the New Zealand Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange, company shares on the latter were unchanged yesterday at 76c.

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