- Bowen Coking Coal Limited has a lucrative coking coal project portfolio in the world-renowned Bowen Basin.
- BCB has carried out an extensive exploration program at the Hillalong Coking Coal Project that have returned significant results.
- 2020 drilling program resulted in a significant resource estimate for the Hillalong North Coking Coal Project and presented opportunities to expand on the maiden resource estimate.
Coking coal exploration and development company, Bowen Coking Coal Limited (ASX:BCB), owns several coking coal projects, namely Isaac River (MDL 444 AND EPC 830); Cooroorah (MDL 453); and Hillalong (90% BCB and 10% Sumitomo) (EPC 1824 & EPC 2141) in the world-renowned Bowen Basin.
More about BCB’s Projects @ A Walk-Through Significant Projects of Bowen Coking Coal Limited
The Company has made significant progress at its Hillalong Coking Coal Project, which is located in the northern Bowen Basin, comprising 31 sub-blocks located to the west of the Mount Hillalong Anticline and is approximately 16 km northwest of Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek Mine.
Let us take a look at the Company’s developments at its Hillalong Project.
Commencement of Exploration Program
BCB had a solid start to the project right at the beginning of 2020, with the commencement of the Hillalong North exploration program, which is the subject of a farm-in agreement with Sumitomo Corporation.
Moreover, the expenditure at the project was covered under the Sumitomo Farm?In Agreement, wherein Sumitomo was to spend a maximum of $7.5 million to earn up to 20% of the project, in two Phases.
BCB’s exploration program was based on the highly encouraging and extremely positive historical exploration results of Rio Tinto Exploration, in particular drill holes HILL005 and HILL008, which are shown below:
Historic seam intersections in Hillalong North (Source: Company's Report)
Farm-In Agreement Becomes Unconditional
In January 2020, BCB proudly announced that the farm-in agreement on the Hillalong Project, with Sumitomo Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary, SCAP Hillalong Pty Ltd, was now unconditional as all conditions precedent to the agreement had been fulfilled. BCB has received a total of $2.5m from Sumitomo for Phase 1 of the Hillalong Farm-In Agreement, earning Sumitomo a 10% interest in the project.
The fulfilment of the conditions represented the culmination of months of negotiations. It was a significant milestone for the Company and a big step forward in the development of the Hillalong project.
Highly Encouraging Raw Coal Quality Results
Towards the end of February 2020, BCB received highly encouraging raw coal and fast float analysis results from its maiden exploration program (2019 Hillalong South exploration program) at the Hillalong Project. The program was completed on 27 November 2019 and the results received were in line with the Company’s expectation.
Raw coal quality of the full seam intersections (Source: Company's Report)
Fast float results indicated the potential to wash a primary, high-quality coking coal from both the Elphinstone and Hynds Upper seams and additional testing is to be conducted to ascertain the potential product and optimum configurations, which could incorporate secondary coal products in order to maximise yield.
Coal Intersected at Hillalong North
In early March, the Company identified coal intersections in all eight drill holes completed to date through the drilling program at Hillalong North.
However, work progress was then hampered by the wet weather and drilling re-commenced at Hillalong North after significant rainfall and subsequent area dry out on 18 March 2020.
Till then, the Company had completed nine drill holes, with finalised geophysical logging and all target seams being encountered in all the drill holes.
To support its originally targeted 28 site plan with up to five core holes for coal quality assessment, the Company had to implement various procedures and initiatives with the intent to reclaim the backlog brought on by the wet weather delays within the restricted time stretch.
Washability And Coal Quality Results From Exploration Program
Towards the end of March 2020, BCB received washability and coal quality results from its maiden exploration program at Hillalong South. Washability tests on the heat-affected coal in holes HIL016C and HIL017C exceeded initial expectations.
Moreover, the results indicated that the heat-affected coal could be washed to primary PCI coal with secondary energy coal, or primary energy coal with a calorific value of between 6,167 and 6,675 kcal/kg.
The washability tests demonstrated that washing primary coking coal with secondary PCI, or primary coking coal with secondary Energy coal, would result in overall growth in the yield from raw coal. The hole HIL017C indicated the ability to wash a primary PCI product and secondary energy coal at combined yields of up to 76%.
The Company also updated that development at Hillalong North was progressing well.
Drilling Successfully Completed
Fast-forwarding to May 2020, BCB concluded drilling at the Hillalong North within the time limits of the Conduct and Compensation Agreement, notwithstanding the weather delays suffered earlier in the program.
Coal was intersected in 26 of the 27 sites, and the main target seams were encountered in around 75% of the holes from depths as shallow as 5 metres and 12 metres. Moreover, all holes were geophysically logged to identify the seams intersected as well as to determine the accurate thickness and seam partings.
The program identified two further targets for future exploration and drilling confirmed the location of the sub-crop line of the target seams around the nose of the Hillalong anticline, along with historic seismic information.
Maiden Resource Estimate of 43Mt
Most recently, BCB completed the recent drilling program at Hillalong North in May 2020 and confirmed that the target seams were intersected in 26 of the 27 sites.
The 2020 Hillalong North exploration program focussing on the northern prospective target area, identified from a review of historic Rio Tinto drilling data, which covered less than 10% of the surface area of the total Hillalong Project.
Xenith Consulting, in accordance with the JORC Code, estimated a total maiden resource estimate of 43 Mt out of which 19.5 Mt is shallower than 150 m deep, a typical depth cut-off for open-cut resources.
The resource remains open in both East and South-West directions and offers the Company further opportunities to enlarge its existing maiden resource estimate.
Presently, fast float and washability analysis are underway, and BCB expects to offer a more definitive indication of the potential final product quality shortly. In addition to this, work has already commenced for defining the next phase of exploration plan.
On 28 July 2020, BCB was noted at a price of $0.053 (AEST: 11:51am) with a market capitalisation of $44.98 million.