A 30-person field camp was opened at the site on July 2 to support the collection of environmental baseline information for the EA process.
The data collected will augment environmental studies already completed by Fortune in prior years and contribute to the completion of the final EA report that is expected to be filed in 2014 to initiate the review process.
Arctos was previously known as Mount Klappan and a great deal of the environmental baseline information on the site was collected under the EA process for a previous development plan.
Fortune said this summer's program would gather additional baseline information for a proposed railway extension.
The company will also fill in gaps in the previous work and provide updates to support permitting and detailed engineering work.
Fieldwork underway includes a drilling program, baseline data acquisition and archeological studies.
Fortune added that members of the Tahltan and Gitxsan First Nations have been hired for various archaeological, drilling and hydrology roles that would contribute to the collection of baseline environmental data for the EA process.
The JV is split 80:20, with Fortune holding the majority interest.
The project is expected to contribute 500 direct jobs and 1000 jobs in supporting activities and generate more than $10 billion in revenues and $900 million in combined federal and provincial taxes.
Arctos is 330km northeast of the Pacific coast Prince Rupert port, where the government recently put the Ridley Terminals bulk-handling facility up for sale.
Arctos has a run of mine reserve of 125 million tons, which Fortune said was likely to be expanded.
Fortune said the project might have a mine life of 25 years and be one of Canada’s most cost-effective metallurgical coal producers.
Arctos’ Lost Fox deposit contains a high-grade coal reserve of 69Mt and would host an open pit operation producing 3 million tons per annum of washed product.