The Trend coal mine is located 6.5 kilometres south-southeast of the Babcock (Quintette) occurrence (093I 011), and 23 kilometres southeast of Tumbler Ridge.
The Trend mine was commissioned in January 2006 by Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC). Hard-coking coal of medium-volatile bituminous rank is mined from the Lower Cretaceous Gates Formation (D, E, F, G, I, J and K seams) along the steeply dipping northeast limb of a tight upright fold, the Waterfall anticline. Stratigraphy is continuous in the area with good correlation of coal seams. Cumulative coal thickness is about 16.5 metres, excluding the K seam. Structurally variable seams of the Lower Cretaceous Gething Formation (Bullhead Group) (Bird and GT seams) are also present and can be blended with Gates Formation coals. Run-of-mine (ROM) coal has a 20 per cent ash content that washes to an 8.5 per cent ash coal.
Late in 2006, Northern Energy and Mining Inc. (NEMI 20 per cent), Hillsborough Resources Ltd. (14 per cent) and Anglo Coal Canada Ltd. (66 per cent) jointly created a new entity, the Peace River Coal Limited Partnership - the operating entity for which, Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC), now manages most of the northeastern British Columbia coal assets previously assigned separately to the companies. PRC operates the Trend mine, to which it intends to add production from the adjacent Roman Mountain deposit (093I 043).
The Gates Formation (Fort St. John Group) is the major coal-bearing unit of the area and consists of siltstone, shale, sandstone, conglomerate and several cycles of coal deposition. It is generally subdivided into four sub-units, termed the Upper Gates member, the Babcock member, the Middle Gates member and the Quintette member. The Quintette member, approximately 80 to 90 metres thick, consists primarily of massive, fine grained siltstones and sandstones. The Middle Gates, approximately 90 to 100 metres thick, consists of a series of fining-upward sequences that culminate in coal development, and hosts all of the economic coal seams of the Gates Formation. The Babcock member is a channel deposit sequence of massive sandstones, conglomeratic sandstones and chert pebble/granule conglomerates, averaging 20 to 30 metres thick. The Upper Gates member is a 30 to 40 metre series of shales and sandy shales with several thin, discontinuous coal seams. A very thin bed of ferruginous chert pebbles marks the top of the unit. Overall thickness of the Gates Formation is 270 to 300 metres.
The Lower Cretaceous Gething Formation (Bullhead Group) consists of alternating units of fine to coarse-grained sandstone, carbonaceous shale, coal, siltstone and conglomerate. Three to four significant coal seams occur in upper part of this formation, and form part of the Trend Project reserves. Historically, the Gething Formation coals have not been mined in this area. The upper contact is a thin bed of pebble conglomerate overlain by distinctive glauconitic, marine sandstones that form the base of the overlying Moosebar Formation (Fort St. John Group). Its thickness ranges from 120 to 200 metres.
In 2002, Consolidated Goldbank Ventures Ltd. completed a nine rotary-drill hole program totalling 525 metres. The coal intersections are tabulated as follows:
TREND COAL PROJECT
COAL INTERSECTION SUMMARY
Coal Int- thick-
Drill seam From-To erval ness
hole ID (m) (m) (m)
QTR2002-1 G 25.90-29.80 3.90 3.62
I 32.15-32.75 0.60 0.56
J 34.15-39.70 5.55 5.15
QTR2002-2 F 4.50-7.45 2.95 2.67
QTR2002-3 F 16.40-20.60 4.20 3.64
G 64.70-68.10 3.40 2.94
I 69.75-70.90 1.15 1.00
J 71.85-77.85 6.00 5.20
QTR2002-4 F 16.50-23.20 6.70 2.83
QTR2002-5 E 13.45-16.85 3.40 2.94
F 39.30-42.40 3.10 2.68
F 42.85-43.65 0.80 0.69
QTR2002-6 G/I 25.30-29.60 4.30 3.80
J 45.80-51.20 5.42 4.79
QTR2002-7 F 5.25-8.45 3.20 2.58
G 46.50-50.25 3.75 3.03
I 51.40-52.15 0.75 0.60
J 58.40-63.75 5.35 4.56
QTR2002-8 E 12.35-15.40 3.05 2.54
F 36.70-39.80 3.10 2.58
QTR2002-9 D 3.35-5.70 2.35 2.04
E 27.50-30.60 3.10 2.68
F 62.20-65.10 2.90 2.51
- data from Press Release Consolidated Goldbank Ventures Ltd. January 27, 2003
In addition to the 2002 drilling, approximately 20 trenches were excavated to verify seam thickness. Coal seams have been identified over a three kilometre strike length.
Production in 2009 was targeted at 1 million tonnes of mostly metallurgical coal with a small amount of thermal coal. The production life of the Trend mine was estimated at about ten years, based on reserves of 17 million tonnes (December, 2009). PRC’s load-out rail facility, a few kilometres north of the Trend mine, was completed in 2007. From here the company ships, through the Ridley Terminals Inc. at Prince Rupert, to markets in Japan, Korea and Europe.
The Gething Formation is mined from Phases 1-3 just east of the peak of Roman Mountain, and the Gates Formation is mined at Phases 4-6, about two kilometres to the southeast across Gordon Creek, farther south along strike of the Waterfall anticline.
In October 2011, Anglo American plc acquired 100 per cent ownership of Peace River Coal Limited Partnership, which included the Trend mine.
Production in 2012 was an estimated 1.4 million tonnes run-of-mine coal, and 1 million tonnes washed coal product. Reserves are estimated at 22.6 million tonnes run-of-mine coal (Proven and Probable), with an additional in situ mineable resource of 21.2 million tonnes (Measured and Indicated) and 1.4 million tonnes (Inferred). South of Babcock Creek, Phases 1, 2 and 3, began in 2006, 2008, and late-2010, respectively. Anglo views the mine as an external coal source to buffer against potential supply shortfall in Australia from flooding or labour issues.
Mining in 2013 at the Trend was focused on finishing Phase 3, continuing Phase 4, and a pushback in Phase 1. Continued mining of Phases 5 and 6 will be leveraged with the stripping ratio at the Roman Mountain expansion to maintain production. Export metallurgical coal production for the first half of the year was 912,000 tonnes, an increase of 55.2 per cent year-on-year despite a company-wide decrease of 9 per cent in Q2 due to strategic production cuts. The total product sales volume for 2012 was about 1.38 million tonnes. As of December 31, 2012, reserves were estimated at 20.2 million tonnes run-of-mine coal (Proven and Probable), with an additional in situ mineable resource of 21.2 million tonnes (Measured and Indicated) and 1.4 million tonnes (Inferred). Remaining mine life is about 10 years, not including the adjacent Roman Mountain mine.
In 2014, metallurgical coal production for the first three quarters was 1.30 million tonnes, down slightly (2 per cent) from 2013. Anglo American plc (Peace River Coal Inc.) placed the mine on care and maintenance in December 2014. Reserves as of 2014 stood at 10 million tonnes saleable coal. Mineable in situ resource totalled 27.7 million tonnes (Exploration and Mining in British Columbia 2014, page 9).
Anglo American plc’s Trend coal mining operations, suspended in 2014, remained idle throughout 2017. Proven and Probable reserves at the Trend and Roman (093I 043) mines as of December 31, 2016 were 34.1 million tonnes of hard coking coal (Information Circular 2018-2).