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Bens Creek Group PLC (BEN)

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Thursday 16 June, 2022

Bens Creek Group PLC

Reserve Base Evaluation

RNS Number : 0599P
Bens Creek Group PLC
16 June 2022
 

Prior to publication, the information contained within this announcement was deemed by the Company to constitute inside information pursuant to Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014 as it forms part of UK domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as amended .

 

Bens Creek Group plc

("Bens Creek" or the "Company")

 

 Reserve Base Evaluation

 

Bens Creek Group plc (AIM: BEN), the owner of a metallurgical coal mine in North America supplying the steel industry, is pleased to provide an updated reserve base evaluation, undertaken by Marshall Miller & Associates, Inc. ("MM&A" or "Marshall Miller"), of its coal properties located primarily in Mingo County, West Virginia, USA.  

 

Bens Creek engaged Marshall Miller to undertake a geological study and coal reserve base evaluation and provide a tonnage estimation on the Bens Creek properties in West Virginia and Kentucky (the "MM&A Report"). The figures stated below from the MM&A Report have not been prepared in accordance with the AIM Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies (the "AIM MOG Note") and the definitions used by MM&A are not equivalent to those used in the AIM MOG Note or a Standard. The MM&A Report was issued to Bens Creek by MM&A on 15 June 2022.

 

The scope of the MM&A Report covers:

 

· the existing in-production metallurgical coal mine set over 10,000 acres in the southern part of the state of West Virginia and the eastern edge of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (the "Bens Creek Mine"), which was subject to a competent person report (the "2021 CPR") that was produced by MM&A at the time of admission of the Company's shares to trading on AIM in October 2021;

 

· the contiguous coal property adjacent to the Bens Creek Mine in Mingo County, West Virginia covering 1,200 acres and which was subject to a coal lease agreement being entered into between Ben's Creek Operations WV LLC ("BC Operations") and M.G.C., Inc. ("MGC") on 15 December 2021; and

 

· the contiguous coal property which was subject to BC Operations entering into a coal sub-lease agreement with Star Ridge Land, LLC ("Star Ridge"), an affiliate of Integrity Coal Sales, Inc., the Company's existing offtake partner, on 13 April 2022. The property relates to two parcels of land covering approximately 2,640 acres in Mingo County, West Virginia.

 

The MM&A Report supplements the previous JORC compliant CPR produced by MM&A in 2021 as part of the admission of the Company's shares to trading on AIM. However, this MM&A Report has not been prepared to the standards set forth in the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (JORC) or in accordance with an appropriate Standard as set out in the AIM MOG Note. Bens Creek will be commissioning Marshall Miller to prepare a mineral resource and reserve update in accordance with JORC standards as soon as practicable.

 

The updated resource and reserve estimates that are to be prepared by MM&A under JORC standards will not be comparable to the reserve base estimate set out in this announcement.  The updated report to be completed by MM&A in accordance with JORC standards will focus upon tonnages delineated as "Contingent Reserve" (approximately 5.2 million tons) in the MM&A Report.  The majority of tonnages delineated as "Contingent Resource" do not contain sufficient supporting exploration and/or analytical quality information required for reporting in accordance with JORC standards at the current time.  Consideration of "Contingent Resources" under JORC standards will require Bens Creek to undertake a substantial exploration campaign to obtain such information and will therefore not be included in the mineral resource and reserve update to be prepared by Marshall Miller in accordance with JORC standards as highlighted above. Furthermore, the reserve base estimate set out in this announcement is not directly comparable to the mineral reserves and resources figures which were set out in the 2021 CPR completed in accordance with JORC standards.

 

The reserve base evaluation conducted by MM&A effectively represents an inventory of tonnage contained on the three subject properties, set out above, based upon geological criteria. A combination of additional exploration, financial analysis and engineering studies will be required prior to the consideration of any of the tonnage in accordance with JORC standards.  Recoverable tons expressed by MM&A are defined to be "Contingent Resources" and "Contingent Reserves", both of which represent terminology developed by MM&A. Tonnages expressed by MM&A in the reserve base analysis are not directly comparable to tonnages expressed in former or future AIM or JORC compliant studies. Definitions introduced by MM&A as part of this reserve base analysis and summarised below do not transition to definitions recognised by JORC or the AIM MOG Note.

 

The direction and focus of the reserve base evaluation by MM&A was to maximise contour mining with associated highwall mining.

 

Key points

 

· Results of the reserve base evaluation identifies that the Bens Creek properties contain an estimated in-place reserve base of approximately 92.7 million tons (all tons reported on a dry basis prior to the application of mine recovery and wash recovery).

 

· Of the total in-place reserve base, 33.6 million tons are estimated to be recoverable, of which 5.2 million recoverable tons are classified as Contingent Reserve and 28.2 million recoverable tons are classified as Contingent Resource.

 

· The estimated recoverable tonnage of 33.6 million has been classified by permit status, with 2.6 million recoverable tons of "permitted" coal and 31.0 million recoverable tons of "not permitted" coal.

 

· The estimated recoverable tonnage of 33.6 million can be further analysed as:

 

I.  4.5 million recoverable tons are classified as potentially contour and highwall mining;

 

II.  7.6 million recoverable tons are classified as surface-mineable (point removal and area mining); and

 

III.  21.5 million recoverable tons are classified as underground mineable.

 

· Of the total tonnages, 100 per cent is leased coal.

 

· A total of sixteen seams and associated benches have been identified as exhibiting surface and/or deep mineable potential within the evaluation.

 

The table in the link below summarises MM&A's independent assessment of Bens Creek's in-place reserve base including the Contingent Resources and Contingent Reserves.  Reserve base tons are estimated on an in-place, dry basis prior to the application of mining recovery and wash recovery.  Contingent Reserves are stated on a potentially recoverable clean basis and include assumed mining recoveries and wash recoveries.

 

The table contained in the link below sets out the reserve base by property, seam, permit status, criteria and mining type. 

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/0599P_1-2022-6-15.pdf

 

The Company's admission document dated 13 October 2021 included the 2021 CPR completed to JORC standards which showed recoverable reserves (proven and probable) of 2.336 million tons of metallurgical coal, as noted in table 1-4 on page 31 of the Company's admission document. Furthermore, at the time of listing of the Company's shares, the Company had 17.2 million in-place tons of metallurgical coal resources made up of measured, indicated and inferred dry tons resource, as noted in table 1-1 on page 29 of the Company's admission document.

 

Adam Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Bens Creek, commented:

 

"We are delighted that the work undertaken by Marshall Miller has confirmed our expectation of improved coal reserves as a result of our recent coal lease agreements with M.G.C. Inc. and Star Ridge combined with our original property.  The identified estimated in-place reserve base of 92.7 million tons, with an estimated recoverable tonnage of 33.6 million, should ensure that our mining targets are able to extend the life of our mining operations to meet the global demand for metallurgical coal."

 

"We are commissioning MM&A to prepare a JORC compliant report as soon as practicable. In due course we will also undertake exploration work with the aim of proving up the overall resource base in accordance with JORC standards ."

 

Qualified Person Statement

 

The technical information contained in this announcement that relates to Bens Creek is based on information compiled and reviewed by Steven Keim of MM&A. Steven Keim is a Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration and has approved the technical disclosure in this regulatory announcement.

 

Steven Keim is a full-time employee of Marshall Miller & Associates, Inc.  and has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit described in the release to qualify as a "Qualified Person" in accordance with the AIM Rules Guidance Note for Mining Oil & Gas Companies.  Steven Keim consents to the inclusion of this information in the form and context in which it appears in this release.

 

As noted above tonnages delineated within this announcement are not prepared in accordance with JORC standards nor have they been prepared to another internationally recognised reporting standard.

 

Glossary of Key Terms

 

Contingent Reserves

are a MM&A defined term assigned to potentially recoverable coal tons in those coal deposits with apparent potential for mine development, based solely on geological criteria. This term does not conform with - and is not to be confused with - the definition of "Reserve" as set forth in USGS Circular 891, SEC S-K1300, JORC, or other international reporting standards. Follow-up engineering and economic evaluations would be required prior to the consideration of "Reserve" definition. Contingent Reserves are presented on a moist, saleable basis after the application of assumed mine recovery and wash-recovery factors.

 

Contingent Resources

are a MM&A term assigned to potentially recoverable coal tons in those coal deposits with some prospects for eventual extraction, but also have some limiting factor(s) such as insufficient exploration, insufficient tonnage for mine development, potential geological encumbrances, property control limitations, etc. which preclude consideration as "Contingent Reserve" at this time. While MM&A recommends confirmatory drilling for reserve-base tons prior to mine planning and capital allocation, tons delineated as contingent resource should be further studied, drilled and evaluated prior to their consideration of economic value. Contingent Resources are presented on a moist, saleable basis after the application of assumed mine recovery and wash-recovery factors.

 

Indicated Reserve Base

 

Coal tons for which quantity and grade and/or quality are computed from information similar to that used for proven (measured) reserves, but the sites for inspection, sampling, and measurement are farther apart or are otherwise less adequately spaced.  The degree of assurance, although lower than that for proven (measured) reserves, is high enough to assume continuity between points of observation. 

 

Indicated coal tons lie more than ¼ mile, but less than ¾ of a mile from a coal measurement site.

 

Inferred Coal

 

Coal that lies between ¾ mile and 3 miles from a point of thickness of coal measurement site.

 

JORC

 

The Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves 2012 (the "JORC Code" or "the Code"). The Code sets out minimum standards, recommendations and guidelines for Public Reporting in Australasia of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.

 

Measured Reserve Base

 

Coal tons for which (a) quantity is computed from dimensions revealed in outcrops, trenches, workings, or drill holes; grade and/or quality are computed from the results of detailed sampling and (b) the sites for inspections, sampling, and measurement are spaced so closely and the geologic character is so well defined that size, shape, depth, and mineral content of reserves are well-established. Measured coal tons lie within a ¼-mile arc around a coal measurement site.

 

Reserve Base

coal tons reported herein conform to the U.S.G.S. Circular 891 definitions of "Reserve Base," meaning coal not yet differentiated into reserve and resource components. By assignment, consideration of the economics of mining, transportation, processing and marketing has not been applied. "Reserve Base" tons are presented on a dry, in-place basis, prior to the application of mining recovery or in-seam wash recovery.

 

Standard

an internationally recognised reporting standard for mineral resources and reserves as set out in the AIM MOG Note.

 

 

For further information please contact:

Bens Creek Group plc

Adam Wilson, CEO

Raju Haldankar, CFO

 

+44 (0) 204 558 2300

Allenby Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

Nick Athanas / Nick Naylor / George Payne (Corporate Finance)

Kelly Gardiner (Sales and Corporate Broking)

+44 (0) 203 328 5656

 


Optiva Securities Limited (Joint Broker)

Christian Dennis / Mariela Jaho / Daniel Ingram

+44 (0) 203 137 1902

 

 

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