New Age Exploration Ltd (ASX:NAE) has identified several opportunities for improvement at Lochinvar Coking Coal Project in the United Kingdom through a recently completed optimisation study.
The study has highlighted the potential for extended use of bord and pillar, an underground mining method, at Lochinvar with mining costs expected to be competitive with other international bord and pillar coal mining operations benchmarked by technical consultants Palaris.
“33 million tonnes of coking coal mineral resource”
Executive director Joshua Wellisch said: “In addition to identifying several incremental improvements for the Lochinvar Coking Coal Project the optimisation study has shown there is potential to mine up to 33 million tonnes of coking coal mineral resource at depths shallower than 400 metres using the board and pillar method.
“The bord and pillar mining method is expected to provide a lower capital cost pathway to initial development of the Lochinvar project and provides greater flexibility in the mining system to manage geological conditions encountered.
“The adjacent Lochinvar North licence exploration target is also expected to contain shallow coking coal that could potentially be mined with the bord and pillar mining method and this will now be studied further by the company.”
Opportunities for improvement at the project include:
- The opportunity to reduce ventilation shaft construction costs based on revised contractor quotes;
- The opportunity to reduce costs of initial underground roadway development to reach first longwall mining panel based on updated estimates by Palaris; and
- The addition of a single bord and pillar mining panel to produce saleable coal during the 2-year project construction period and prior to the coal production from the first longwall panel.
Although the bord and pillar mining method is slightly more expensive than the longwall mining method it has several advantages including substantially lower start-up capital costs, increased flexibility to accommodate faulting and geological structure, and the increased ability to scale the production rate to meet demands by adding or removing continuous miner units.