23 February, 2018
Following on from the very successful offshore exploration drilling campaign of 2017, West Cumbria Mining (WCM) is now embarking on a new phase of work, this time onshore, where it is aiming to recover a significantly larger quantity of coal from underground.
The WCM team, together with our specialist drilling contractor, Priority Drilling, have commenced drilling a pilot test hole prior to the first of two vertical boreholes, each of which will be drilled to a depth of around 100 metres to extract 206mm (8.1”) diameter core samples from our two main target seams, the Bannock and Main Band. The drilling programme, which is anticipated to last around eight weeks, is taking place on agricultural land just east of St Bees. A specially manufactured 3m long core barrel will be used to recover a complete seam section in a single pass; an innovative technique which has been used elsewhere in the world to recover larger quantities of coal by borehole drilling.
An estimated 400kg of coal will be extracted in total from the two seams, with the recovered coal being used to provide representative samples to our potential UK and European steel customers. This will allow them to test the coal to obtain information on how WCM coal would perform in their own coke ovens. Every coke oven and blast furnace have individual requirements and as a result each steelmaker purchases a number of different coals and then blends them together to suit their own specific performance requirements.
Both boreholes will be fully remediated and backfilled with cement once the works are completed, WCM do not envisage any impacts to local dwellings or traffic during the period of the Works.