West Cumbria Mining Limited (WCM) is currently progressing the development of the first new coking coal mine in the UK for over 30 years. With a historic coal mining legacy in the northwest of England, WCM has embarked on a four year programme of investment in order to evaluate the technical merits of the Project and the viability of an underground coal deposit offshore near Whitehaven, West Cumbria.

The objective of the Project is to develop a safe, modern and environmentally responsible coal mining operation. With the aim of supplying coking coal to steel markets in the UK and Europe, the company will demonstrate a lasting coal mining heritage and in doing so provide opportunities in support of the local community.

The Challenge

The Project involves the detailed appraisal of historical geological information including borehole logging, coal quality, seismic reflection and historical mining records. In order to satisfy recognised international standards for development and investment, WCM commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV in 2016 as technical advisor for the implementation of an infill drilling programme. This would support 3-dimensional geological modelling and Resource estimation within the Carboniferous Coal Measures.

The Solution

With appreciation for the long-term development strategy of WCM, Royal HaskoningDHV provided technical guidance and advice on exploration programme design, focussed on providing infill geological information to supplement recent and historical data in the region. The programme was initially undertaken within the onshore license area, with the intention of implementing an offshore programme as a means of targeting a Coal Resource estimate within the initial years of the potential mine. Royal HaskoningDHV worked collaboratively with the WCM in-house technical team to develop the Project with appreciation of international best practice.

In parallel to the drilling programme, Royal HaskoningDHV produced a number of 3-dimensional geological models and outputs to support ongoing interpretations and mine design. Historical boreholes and abandonment plans from previously operating mines were incorporated to produce a more accurate representation of the coal deposit.

The Outcome

On completion of the 2016 drilling programme, Royal HaskoningDHV conducted a comprehensive audit procedure to confirm data was robust and reliable to form the basis of a Coal Resource estimate. The conclusions of geological interpretation, modelling and estimation were presented in a Competent Persons Report in accordance with international standards of the JORC Code.

Royal HaskoningDHV continue to support WCM throughout 2017 for the implementation of an offshore exploration programme. This will continue to inform the wider feasibility assessment of the Project.

Client testimonial

“West Cumbria Mining contracted Royal HaskoningDHV in 2016 to complete a Resource statement for our Cumbrian Metallurgical Coal Project in north west England. We found the Royal HaskoningDHV team to be very professional and technically sophisticated. The Competent Person was very well versed in all aspects of the JORC code for coal exploration. The team provided valuable guidance and assistance throughout our entire onshore exploration programme and the final Resource report was well presented. West Cumbria Mining intend to expand our exploration programme offshore in 2017. We are pleased to continue our working relationship with Royal HaskoningDHV and look forward to another productive year together.”

Eric Gozlan, Exploration Manager, West Cumbria Mining

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