Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 18, 2012 - 7:50 am

Ellesmere coal deposits could solve “the current energy crisis in Nunavut”

Canada Coal's 2012 exploration shows there's lots of thermal coal which could replace diesel fuel

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
This map from Canada Coal shows the coal deposits in red that can be found on Ellesmere Island.
This map from Canada Coal shows the coal deposits in red that can be found on Ellesmere Island.

Canada Coal Inc. which owns 75 coal exploration licences covering roughly 2.5 million acres of territory on Nunavut’s Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands, says its 2012 exploration program shows there are “extensive thermal coal deposits, with low sulphur and ash content” located on Ellesmere’s Forsheim Peninsula.

Thermal coal can be used to produce electricity and heat.

“We are greatly encouraged by the confirmation of extensive thermal coal deposits, with low sulphur and ash content, on our Fosheim Peninsula coal license area,” said Braam Jonker, Canada Coal’s president and chief executive officer, in an Oct. 16 news release.

Now Canada Coal says it’s examining the potential for thermal coal on its Arctic coal licenses “as a solution for the current energy crisis in Nunavut.”

Canada Coal is “actively evaluating various fuel power generation technologies including coal to liquids and coal water slurry,” Jonker said.

Coal water slurry can be used instead of oil or gas in any size of heating and power station, such as Nunavut’s diesel generating power plants. The presence of water in the slurry reduces harmful emissions produced by coal generation power plants.

Coal water slurry fuel is a heavy liquid fuel that is produced by mixing grounded coal, water and chemical additives, according to a description from a company called Sino Clean Energy Inc. which sells cold water products.

Coal water slurry can be stored, pumped and burned as a substitute for oil or gas in properly modified furnaces or boilers. It burns cleaner than coal, and is free of coal dust that pollutes the atmosphere.

This past summer, Canada Coal focused its attention on the western Fosheim Peninsula, one of six coal license areas owned by the company, about 36 kilometres east of Eureka and at the heart of its “Nunavut Coal Project.”

Initial sampling of that area in the 1980s suggested it contains about 22 billion tonnes of coal.

The $3.7-million 2012 exploration program assessed well over 100 coal seams showing extensive zones of low-sulphur, low-ash, sub-bituminous, thermal coal.

Results from 285 coal samples in 2012 showed extensive zones of low-sulphur, low-ash, sub-bituminous coal, suitable for use as thermal coal.

“These discoveries help to confirm the historic coal target size assessments throughout its Arctic coal properties. The next phase of exploration will include an upcoming drill program to further define our thermal coal deposits and to explore for metallurgical coal deposits at deeper levels,” Jonker said.

Metallurgical or “met” coal, is coveted for use in steel-making.

A March 2012 story in Mining Weekly Online said there is currently a scarcity of met coal worldwide and that, “people are scouring the world for new deposits.”

“As our exploration programs progress, we are committed to close cooperation with local communities and transparent communication with all stakeholders,” Jonker said.

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