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Wildfires slow down exploration activity for Pacific American Coal

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Pacific American Coal Limited has provided the following update, including its exploration activity at the company’s 100% owned Elko Coking Coal Project in B.C., Canada.

Wildfire activity in British Columbia causes disruption to activity at Elko.

  • Initial pre-drilling work undertaken.
  • State of Emergency and Province wide industry shutdown limits site access.
  • Drilling programme suspended.
  • Completion of studies and approval process to recommence as soon as site access re-established.
  • PAK remains well placed with sufficient cash reserves to continue the development of Elko whilst assessing additional accretive investments.

    Wildfires delay exploration programme:

    The company has been working closely with the Project Manager of the Elko Project to complete a number of pre-drilling tasks in preparation for our exploration programme, as well as the required environmental work needed for permitting including:

  • Archaeology survey.
  • Fish surveys.
  • Road access and construction plans. 

    However, due to the unprecedented wildfire season being experienced in B.C., which has included an extended state of emergency and industry shutdown across the Province, the company has had sparse access to the property. This has hampered the team’s ability to complete the necessary tasks required to obtain drilling permits. From 1 April to 15 September, 2017, 1256 wildfires have burned 1.19 million hectares. One hundred and fifty-three wildfires are still burning in B.C., with 11 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3152 individuals, plus 23 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 5762 people. During this wildfire season, approximately 65 000 people were evacuated from their homes. The provincial state of emergency, the longest in B.C.’s history, was declared on 7 July 2017, and was extended four times. While the state of emergency officially expired on 15 September 2017, of particular concern, are the uncontrolled fires in the Lodgepole-Flathead area. At last report, one fire was within 2 km of the Elko Project area. 

    Whilst there is no immediate danger to any company personnel or equipment, the extended restrictions in accessing the site has meant that it is not clear whether all the activities planned during the summer season will be able to be resumed prior to the end of the weather window. As a result, the company has taken the decision to suspend the planned 2017 drilling programme. 

    Whilst the delay in finalising the required studies has contributed to the rescheduling of the planned drilling programme, the Company recently renewed its exploration license covering the Elko and Hazell projects for a further twelve months. Environmental Approvals & First Nations Consultation Process: As soon as conditions permit, the company intends returning its personnel to the ground to complete the required permitting field work.

    Whilst the drilling may not be possible this season, the company is hoping the project team will be able to undertake several extra surveys and studies which will be able to be used as baselines for various environmental and heritage studies required for any future mining license. It is also intended that the initial ground surveys at Hazell will be carried out as part of these activities. 

    The company remains committed to completing the approval process as soon as possible, whilst ensuring all its activities are in accordance with all environmental regulations and supported by both the local community and First Nation populations. The company will continue to work closely with stakeholders and regulators to provide information regarding the proposed exploration programme and drilling permits. 


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