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Bens Creek provides preparation and wash plant and highwall miner update

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World Coal,

Bens Creek Group plc, the owner of a metallurgical coal mine in North America supplying the steel industry, has provided an update on the preparation and wash plant and completion of purchase of the second highwall miner.

Preparation and wash plant

Bens Creek has now completed all the necessary remedial works required on its preparation and wash plant. This work is in line with the company’s stated intentions to repair and upgrade its coal preparation and wash plant, originally acquired at a fair value of US$10 million. The preparation and wash plant will now undergo in-depth testing and sample processing, which is envisaged to last approximately two weeks, to ensure it is able to work at maximum efficiency and maximise the recovery of metallurgical coal.

The repairs and improvements that have been undertaken are deemed satisfactory to process raw metallurgical coal in order to fulfil the supply required by Bens Creek’s offtake partner, Integrity Coal Inc, New York. Until the preparation and wash plant is fully operational, the sale and delivery of unwashed product to Integrity will continue in line with the announcement made by the company on 17 January 2022.

The remediation work included a wide range of substantial repairs and upgrades including an evaluation and replacement of conveyors, dryers and screens. All pumps, sumps, the CCC crusher, froth cells, separators and heavy media cyclones were inspected cleaned and repaired. In some cases, these have been rebuilt. In particular, the heavy media vessel has been completely rebuilt with a rear access door added. The spiral bank, originally consisting of four spirals, has been replaced with a more efficient ten spiral bank. Furthermore, the chemical system has been completely rebuilt with the addition of a mud stacking trailer which will extend cell life at the refuse area.

Completion of purchase of second highwall miner

Following the announcement made on 18 January 2022, for a contract to purchase a Superior highwall miner and related highwall mining equipment, the company has announced this purchase has now been completed following the final purchase price payment being made and the Board of Bens Creek expect that this machine will be deployed ahead of the initial scheduled timetable of 2Q22.

Adam Wilson, CEO of Bens Creek, commented: “We are very satisfied with the progress of the remedial works that have been undertaken on the preparation and wash plant which is in line with our expectations. We are now looking forward to commencing full processing of our production output, as noted in the Chairman’s statement on 22 December 2021 and in the company’s admission document issued on 13 October 2021 in connection with the company’s IPO. The preparation and wash plant has a capacity of 350 tph, which provides Bens Creek with substantial scope to increase production beyond the initial volumes agreed with our offtake partner, Integrity, as announced on 21 October 2021.

“As detailed in the announcement of 18 January 2022, the addition of a further Superior highwall miner to our operational capability provides us with the potential to double our production capacity within a short period of time.”

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