6 February 2012
Oracle Coalfields PLC
("Oracle" or the "Company")
Technical Feasibility Study
Oracle Coalfields PLC (AIM:ORCP), the coal explorer and developer of a lignite mineral property located in the south-eastern desert of Sindh Province, Pakistan, today announces the results of the technical feasibility study ("FS") on Block VI of the Thar Coalfield.
The exploration licence for Block VI (NO.DMD/S/Ex-L-Coal (11)/10/2914) with an area of 66.1km2 ("Licence Area") is held by Oracle's 80 per cent owned subsidiary, Sindh Carbon Energy Limited ("Sindh Carbon"), a private company incorporated in Sindh Province, Pakistan. On 2November 2011 Sindh Carbon submitted an application for the conversion of the current exploration licence to a mining licence.
Highlights from the FS:
• Within the Licence Area there are Mineral Resources (reported in accordance with the terms and definitions of the JORC Code - defined below) in the mining area (approximately 20 square kilometres) of 529 millions of wet tonnes (Mwt) with gross calorific value (CV) of 3,182k calories per wet kilogramme (wkg), with ash content at 5.89 per cent and Sulphur at 0.91 per cent.
• Probable Coal Reserves (Phase 1 of Mining Area) of 113Mwt with gross CV 2,831kcal/wkg, Ash 11.50 per cent and Sulphur 0.79 per cent with a strip ratio of 8.54bcm waste (Bank Cubic Metre):1wt lignite.
• Total capital expenditure for open cast mine development is estimated at US$610m (including US$224m for mining equipment) for 5Mwt per annum of lignite production.
• Total cash cost of production of US$42.21 per wet tonne.
• Confirmed product quality suitable for power generation.
• 23 year mine life.
Shahrukh Khan, CEO of Oracle, said:
"This is another important step for Oracle as we look to provide a sustainable source of energy to Pakistan and bring its first large scale open-pit coal mine into production. The FS indicates the technical and economic viability of the mining project.
"Further work is continuing to refine the overall project economics, specifically in respect of off-take agreements with respect to the Power Plant (defined below); and the mining contractor opportunities, prior to making any definitive announcements on the overall economics. The Government of Sindh in recent published announcements recognises a Project IRR in excess of 20 per cent assuming completion of certain financing milestones.
"The Board looks forward to progressing the technical feasibility study to bankable standard ("BFS") in 2012, when we will also be seeking direct funding for the mining project."
The FS is targeting the development of a lignite mining operation (the "Lignite Mining Project", "LMP") to supply a mine-site power station with an annual mine production target of 5Mwt (47.80 per cent moisture) of lignite at an overall stripping ratio of 8.54bcm to one wet tonne lignite and a total mine-site production cost of US$42.21 per wet tonne of lignite (47.80per cent moisture) delivered over an expected mine life of 23 years.
The total mine site capital expenditure for construction and development to full production is US$610m with an expected construction period of 27 months. The current FS defines sufficient coal reserves to support a 23 year mine life, defined as Phase 1.
The FS was compiled by SRK Consulting (UK) Limited ("SRK") with certain of the underlying technical disciplines (Geology; Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves; Mining Engineering; Hydrogeology - mine site; Geochemistry; and Financial Modelling) authored by SRK directly and others, whilst reviewed by SRK, authored as follows: Environmental and Social Studies by Wardell Armstrong LLP and Hagler Bailey Pakistan (Pvt) Limited; Hydrogeology- semi regional ground water by RPS Aqua Terra (Pty) Limited; Infrastructure by WSP Group plc.
Where appropriate, local consultants were also employed to complete certain tasks, under the supervision of the above named consultancies. The specific scope of the FS was limited to the mine site and specifically excludes any consideration for the development, construction and operation of the Power Generation Plant Project ("Power Plant").
Further work is required to progress this Feasibility Study to a bankable standard ("BFS"). The environmental work completed to date has targeted compliance with both local regulatory requirements and international standards (specifically: Equator Principles, IFC Performance Standards, World Bank EHS Guidelines and ICMM guidelines).
Although further work is required, the economic viability of the LMP is dependent upon various assumptions in respect of the Power Plant which are not yet supported by a BFS.
The reporting standard adopted for the reporting of the Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve Statements for the LMP is that defined by the terms and definitions given in "The 2004 Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the "JORC Code") as published by the Joint Ore Reserves Committee of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists and Minerals Council of Australia". The JORC Code is an internationally recognised reporting code as defined by the Combined Reserves International Reporting Standards Committee.
For further information, please follow this link to view the mining area at:
The total Mineral Resource of the mining area reported by SRK to Oracle is 529Mwt lignite which comprises total Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of 459Mwt lignite and Inferred Mineral Resources of 70Mwt lignite. Individual qualities for each classification are included in the table below where the following also apply:
1. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are inclusive of those Mineral Resources modified to produce Coal Reserves, i.e. they are reported on an 'inclusive basis'; and
2. Mineral Resources are deemed to be potentially economic by open-pit methods and are constrained within an optimised shell corresponding to a long term price ("LTP") assumption of US$60 per wet tonne.
Mineral Resource Statement 03 January 2012
The total Coal Reserves reported as at 03 January 2012 within Phase 1 are 113Mwt, all of which are classified as Probable Coal Reserves. This comprises both Measured (80 per cent) and Indicated (20 per cent) Mineral Resources modified to Coal Reserves reporting within an engineered pit design based on a LTP assumption of US$37.50Mwt of lignite. The classification of all Coal Reserves as Probable is a direct consequence of assumptions regarding certain of the modifying factors and sales revenue. Furthermore, the declaration of Coal Reserves assumes the successful granting of a mining licence.
The assumed modifying factors include lignite weighted average (tonnage basis): mining losses of 7 per cent. (ranging from 3 per cent to 26 per cent); dilution of 6 per cent (ranging from 3 per cent to 29 per cent); and dilutant quality 100 per cent Ash.
Phase 1 Coal Reserve Statement 03 January 2012
The Competent Person who assumes responsibility for reporting of the mineral resources is Mr Paul Bright, CEng, MIMMM, and BSc, who is an employee of SRK. He is a Member of the Institute of Materials, Metals and Mining ("IMMM") which is a Recognised Overseas Professional Organisation ("ROPO") within the meaning of the JORC Code. Mr Paul Bright is a coal geologist with over 30 years' experience in the coal mining industry and has been involved in the reporting of mineral resources on various properties internationally during the past five years.
The Competent Person who assumes responsibility for reporting of the coal reserves is Mr Vince Osborne, RPEQ (Aus), MAuSIMM, BSc, who is an employee of SRK. He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy ("AuSIMM") which is a ROPO. Mr Vince Osborne is a mining engineer with over 25 years' experience in the coal mining industry and has been involved in the reporting of coal reserves on various properties internationally during the past five years.
Both Mr Bright and Mr Osborne have reviewed this announcement and have consented to its publication.
· Completion of negotiations with an international mining contractor.
· Finalisation of BFS including further studies to refine the following areas: geochemistry; hydrogeology; operating expenditure and capital expenditure updates; and power generation off-take agreements.
· Completion of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA") in accordance with international standards.
· Securing financial support for the engineering, procurement, construction and completion of the Lignite Mining Project.
· Assessment of opportunities for securing supplementary off-take agreements with the cement industry in Pakistan.
· Finalisation of mine site construction timeline following Completion of BFS and ESIA for the Power Plant.
There will be additional information available on the company website. This can be found at:
For further information contact:
Oracle Coalfields PLC
Shahrukh Khan, CEO
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 317 4050
Novus Capital Markets
Nicholas Lee, Charles Goodfellow
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 107 1881
Blythe Weigh Communications
Telephone: 0207 138 3204
+44(0) 7816 924 626
+44 (0) 7917 800 011
Libertas Capital Corporate Finance Limited
Sandy Jamieson , Neil Pidgeon
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 569 9650
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This information is provided by RNS