ASTM International has approved a new standard that could help mining companies, regulatory bodies and geological surveys assess coal tonnage-in-place. Assessment of coal tonnage-in-place is a fundamental factor in evaluating the commercial feasibility of a coal deposit. ASTM’s committee on coal and coke (D05) developed the standard (D8215).

The new standard provides a geostatistical methodology to calculate the uncertainty of an in-place, coal resource estimate, both at the deposit and block level. The original methodology was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“In addition to examining the drilling pattern both within and outside the coal bed, other factors influencing the complexity in the geology are also considered, resulting in realistic estimates of uncertainty,” said ASTM International member, James Luppens, scientist emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey. “Most importantly, the uncertainty is expressed directly in tons of coal.”

Luppens noted that the standard allows statistical analysis to be presented according to widely accepted conventions, such as percentiles and confidence intervals. Additionally, the results of an uncertainty determination can provide important input into an overall risk analysis assessing the commercial feasibility of a coal deposit.