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File Created: 03-Feb-1986 by Eileen Van der Flier Keller (EVFK)
Last Edit:  23-Jan-2018 by George Owsiacki (GO)

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BCGS Map 093P037
Status Developed Prospect NTS Map 093P07E, 093P07W
Latitude 055º 23' 20'' UTM 10 (NAD 83)
Longitude 120º 47' 15'' Northing 6140295
Easting 640146
Commodities Coal Deposit Types A04 : Bituminous coal
Tectonic Belt Foreland Terrane Overlap Assemblage
Capsule Geology

The Echo Hill project is a developed thermal coal prospect located about 50 kilometres southwest of Dawson Creek. The coal is hosted by the Upper Cretaceous Wapiti Formation. The project was initiated in the late 1970s by Gulf Canada Resources and was explored for two years as the "Wapiti Project". In the mid 2000s, Hillsborough Resources Limited proposed to build a 700,000 tonne-per-year surface coal mine with a thermal electric power plant at the Wapiti site. The project was halted in 2007 when the British Columbia Government announced the policy that new power facilities must have zero net emissions. Hillsborough's current proposal, under the new project name "Echo Hill", is to develop a thermal coal mine for export to markets outside British Columbia. The proposed mine would use contour mining and highwall augur mining to produce between 1.0 and 1.5 million tonnes per year.

Three coal seams, seams No. 1, 2 and 3, occur in the Upper Cretaceous Wapiti Group which is up to 460 metres thick and consists of interbedded sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and conglomerate, deposited in a deltaic environment.

Seam No. 1, the most persistent coal seam, lies directly above the "Chungo Member" sandstone at the base of the Wapiti Group. Its maximum thickness is slightly over 2.0 metres in the northwest part of the Kiskatinaw block and it thins to the east, north and south, while being eroded away updip to the west. The seam contains a clastic parting in the upper middle part and varies in thickness from 0.10 to 1.7 metres. The average ash content of the seam is high (29.0 per cent dried basis). The coal rank is high-volatile bituminous "C" and decreases to sub-bituminous "A" in oxidized samples.

Clean coal of +100 mesh floats at specific gravity of 1.50 from adit 1 and contains 11.4 per cent ash, 33.9 per cent volatile matter, 54.7 per cent fixed carbon and 0.53 per cent sulphur with a calorific content of 11,674 BTU per pound. Seams No. 2 and 3 are discontinuous and thin, maximum thickness 0.42 metre and 1.19 metres, respectively.

The structure consists of a series of northwest trending, southeast plunging open folds with some associated small scale subsidiary folding. The overall regional dip is to the northeast. Two high angle thrust faults occur in the Kiskatinaw block with throws approximately 100 metres and 500 metres, respectively.

The project was initiated in 1979 when Gulf Canada acquired two large blocks of coal licenses, the Kiskatinaw and Iris Lake blocks. In 1979, Gulf conducted an exploration program that included geological mapping, trenching and reconnaissance drilling of 6328 metres in 47 rotary-drill holes, and identified an exploration target called the No. 1 seam at the base of the Wapiti Formation (Coal Exploration Report 683). In 1980, Gulf concentrated on an area (Area A) at the northwest end of the Kiskatinaw block, where the No. 1 seam reaches thicknesses between 1 and 2 metres. The 1980 exploration program included driving two adits for a bulk sampling program, and drilling of 6503 metres in 28 holes with a full complement of geophysical logging. The recommendation following the 1980 program was to retain only the coal tenure within Area A and continue exploration there. The in-place coal determined at an overall surface mineable ratio of 11.5:1 was calculated at 45,418,973 tonnes. Area No.6 immediately north of the proposed mining area has 1.9 million tonnes inferred; area No.9 to the south of the proposed mining area has 10 million tonnes inferred (Coal Assessment Report 685). Gulf forfeited the property in the 1980s.

The area was restaked in 2004 and acquired by Hillsborough Resources in 2005. Hillsborough conducted drilling programs in 2004 and 2006, completing 2328 metres in 59 holes. Hillsborough contracted Norwest Corporation to updated the resource calculation for the Wapiti property and prepare a National Instrument (NI) 43-101 compliant technical report. The 2007 report issued a new resource estimate of 80.108 million tonnes combined measured and indicated resources and 35.246 million tonnes inferred resources (March 27, 2007;

EMPR COAL ASS RPT *683, *684, *685
EMPR Coal in British Columbia (1976)
EMPR EXPL 1979-359; 1980-568
EMPR FIELDWORK 1977, p. 60; 1978, p. 86; 1981, pp. 244-258; 1984, pp. 251-277; 1986, pp. 369-372,379-382; 1987, pp. 451-470; 1988, pp. 565-576
EMPR GF 2010-11
EMPR P *1981-3; 1986-3, pp. 18,19
EMPR PF (093P General - Mathews, W.H. (1950,1952,1954,1955): Various reports on the Peace River District; Map of Dawson Creek area showing leases, wells and seismic surveys; General surficial and bedrock geology maps)
GSC BULL 132; 152; 219; 250; 259; 328
GSC MAP 19-1961; 2669
GSC OF 286
GSC P 60-16; 61-10; 69-1A, pp. 244,245; 70-1A, pp. 238,239; *89-4, pp. 1-29,50,51,58-63
PR REL Hillsborough Resources Ltd., Feb.15, Mar.20, 2006
CNN Matthews Feb.15, Nov.30, 2006