(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Ascot Resources (ASX: AZQ), formerly Epic Resources, is on the road to defining a maiden JORC Resource at its 90% owned Carbones de Titiribi coal project in Colombia with resource drilling now underway.
The first of four drill rigs is now operational in the El Basal concession within the Titiribi licence area, with the remaining three to be operational by February 2013.
The phase one drilling program at Titiribi comprises 10 diamond drill holes for a total of 1,600 metres and is intended to confirm the thickness, orientation and quality of coal seams predicted from recently completed field mapping work.
An extensive geophysical downhole logging program will immediately follow the diamond drilling to provide data to assist with the interpretation of the coal seam stratigraphy and subsequent geological modelling.
This modelling is planned to support Ascot's target of defining a maiden coal Resource by the end of the March quarter 2013.
Ascot acquired coal licences in the Southern Antioquia region of Colombia back in August last year.
The company is targeting a premium quality, high calorific value coal.
The Colombian coal market is the world's fourth largest exporter of coal and has the largest identified coal resource base in South America.
Colombia has coal reserves of 6.8 billion tonnes and coal production in 2011 reached 85.8 million tonnes, an increase of 15.4% over 2010.
Coal exports in 2011 were up 16% to a record 79.2 million tonnes, and exports are tipped to reach 150 million tonnes by 2020.
Growth is expected to be primarily driven by developing economies appetite for energy and steel consumption.
Majors such as BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), Anglo America, Xstrata, Itochu and Glencore are all operating in the region.
Titiribi is strategically located close to existing infrastructure.
Ascot Resources was previously known as Epic Resources and officially changed its name in early December.