Bowen Coking Coal Limited will seek to increase the existing 43 million tonne (Mt) JORC resource at its Hillalong Coking Coal Project after starting a new seismic and drilling program at the project this week.
The Phase 2a exploration program at Hillalong, which lies in close proximity to the Hail Creek mine in the northern Bowen Basin in Queensland, involves three drill holes in the northern area to extend the resource in the Rangal Coal Measures and eight drill holes in the southern area.
The program is underway to explore new resources and test the existence of the Moranbah Coal Measures along the eastern margin of the project. A 37-kilometre seismic survey also forms a part of the program.
The exploration program follows an agreement by farm‐in partner, Sumitomo Corporation, to commit a further $2.5 million to earn an additional 5 per cent of the project.
The Japanese Conglomerate earned 10 per cent of the project last year after spending $2.5 million on Phase 1 and has the option to earn up to 20 per cent in the project by spending another $2.5 million on Phase 2b .
Bowen’s Managing Director, Gerhard Redelinghuys, detailed that Phase 2a drilling would target both the Rangal and Moranbah coal seams and was an exciting progression in Hillalong’s development.
“Phase 2a will start with seismic in the south to investigate potential seam continuance, seam dip and structure in the eastern part of the Hillalong South area,” Mr Redelinghuys said.
“Then drilling will firm up the geological model before we conduct further seismic survey and drilling in the centre and northern part of this very large project area.”
“We are looking to build on the good results from the earlier program which indicated that we have identified a significant deposit of high quality open cut coking coal proximate to existing infrastructure,” he shared.
Previous Hillalong Project exploration
The successful Phase 1 exploration program at Hillalong North included a maiden 27‐hole drilling program wherein Xenith Consulting has estimated a total maiden resource of 43Mt in accordance with the JORC Code, of which 19.5Mt is shallower than 150 metres deep, a moderate depth cut‐off for open-cut resources.
Importantly, the resource area remains open in both the east and south‐westerly directions, providing opportunities to expand on the maiden resource estimate.
The Phase 1 exploration program for Hillalong North covered less than 10 per cent of the total area of the Hillalong Project, targeting prospective areas which were identified from historic Rio Tinto drilling data.
Additionally, coal quality and washability analysis of the four core holes not affected by intrusions demonstrated that the Elphinstone seam has the potential to produce a single primary coking coal with 10.5 per cent ash at an average yield of 84 per cent over the deposit.
Bowen outlines that the Hynds Upper seam has the potential to produce a high quality, 8.5 per cent ash primary coking coal product with a secondary high energy thermal coal at a combined yield of 87 per cent.
Previous exploration in Hillalong’s southern area encountered the main target seams (Elphinstone and Hynds) between 116 and 167 metres deep with an average thickness of 5.6 metres for the Elphinstone seam and 2.5 metres for the Hynds Upper seam .
Due to one of the key drill holes not encountering any coal in the previous program (proximate to hole HS_2), which was interpreted to be drilled in a geological structure, no resource estimate in accordance with the JORC Code was completed for the southern area.
The Phase 2a plan aims to investigate this area further to obtain more confidence in the seam continuance and investigate the potential to establish additional resources in this area.
 See ASX Release 11 December 2020, 4 May 2020 and 18 November 2019.
 See ASX release 27 November 2019 and 24 February 2020.