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Open-File Report 2009-1282

CoalVal—A Coal Resource Valuation Program

By Timothy J. Rohrbacher and Gary E. McIntosh

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CoalVal is a menu-driven Windows program that produces cost-of-mining analyses of mine-modeled coal resources. Geological modeling of the coal beds and some degree of mine planning, from basic prefeasibility to advanced, must already have been performed before this program can be used. United States Geological Survey mine planning is done from a very basic, prefeasibility standpoint, but the accuracy of CoalVal’s output is a reflection of the accuracy of the data entered, both for mine costs and mine planning. The mining cost analysis is done by using mine cost models designed for the commonly employed, surface and underground mining methods utilized in the United States.

CoalVal requires a Microsoft Windows® 98 or Windows® XP operating system and a minimum of 1 gigabyte of random access memory to perform operations. It will not operate on Microsoft Vista®, Windows® 7, or Macintosh® operating systems. The program will summarize the evaluation of an unlimited number of coal seams, haulage zones, tax entities, or other area delineations for a given coal property, coalfield, or basin. When the reader opens the CoalVal publication from the USGS website, options are provided to download the CoalVal publication manual and the CoalVal Program.

The CoalVal report is divided into five specific areas relevant to the development and use of the CoalVal program:

1. Introduction to CoalVal Assumptions and Concepts.
2. Mine Model Assumption Details (appendix A).
3. CoalVal Project Tutorial (appendix B).
4. Program Description (appendix C).
5. Mine Model and Discounted Cash Flow Formulas (appendix D).

The tutorial explains how to enter coal resource and quality data by mining method; program default values for production, operating, and cost variables; and ones own operating and cost variables into the program. Generated summary reports list the volume of resource in short tons available for mining, recoverable short tons by mining method; the seam or property being mined; operating cost per ton; and discounted cash flow cost per ton to mine and process the resources. Costs are calculated as loaded in a unit train, free-on-board the tipple, at a rate of return prescribed by the evaluator.

The recoverable resources (in short tons) may be grouped by incremental cost over any range chosen by the user. For example, in the Gillette coalfield evaluation, the discounted cash flow mining cost (at an 8 percent rate of return) and its associated tonnage may be grouped by any applicable increment (for example, $0.10 per ton, $0.20 per ton, and so on) and using any dollar per ton range that is desired (for example, from $4.00 per ton to $15.00 per ton). This grouping ability allows the user to separate the coal reserves from the nonreserve resources and to construct cost curves to determine the effects of coal market fluctuations on the availability of coal for fuel whether for the generation of electricity or for coal-to-liquids processes. Coking coals are not addressed in this report.

First posted September 02, 2010

For additional information contact:

U.S. Geological Survey
Central Energy Resources Science Center
Box 25046, MS-939
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Rohrbacher, T.J., and McIntosh, G.E., 2010, CoalVal—A coal resource valuation program: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1282, 265 p.






Geological Model Construction

Mine Model Construction

Surface Mine Models - General Assumptions

Underground Mining Models - General Assumptions

CoalVal Concepts



Mine Models

Look-Up Tables



Mine Model and Discounted Cash Flow Formula



References Cited

Appendix A. Mine Model Assumption Details

Appendix B. CoalVal Project Tutorials

Appendix C. Program Description

Appendix D. Mine Model and Discounted Cash Flow Formulas

Appendix E. Glossary of Terms

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