The Canadian thermal coal producer says as its new chief operating officer, Gilligan will work alongside new vice-president of operations Richard Tremblay to ensure the smooth development, commissioning and operation of Vista.
Gilligan will focus on expanding the work team, while finalizing the contractor and execution strategy to ensure Vista can be delivered on time and budget.
Gilligan arrives at Coalspur with 24 years of mining experience, having been involved in the development and daily running of major international operations.
He was previously the COO of Mitsui Coal Holdings, where he oversaw annual production of 12 million equity tonnes of coal from 11 joint venture operations.
Prior to that, he was executive manager - resources development group - for Thiess. Gilligan was responsible for mining, new business and technical support across the company's 12 mine sites, which produced approximately 70 million tonnes per annum in Australia and Indonesia.
Coalspur president and CEO Gill Winckler said: “Colin's wealth of experience in developing and operating mines will be of immense value to Coalspur, as we move into construction on Vista and prepare for production in early 2015.”
“His experience with contract mining operations, and focus on capital efficiency and low-cost operations, will stand us in good stead as we progress with our project execution.
“I am looking forward to working with Colin to position Vista as a high-performing, low-cost export thermal coal mine,” she said.
"I feel extremely fortunate to be joining the Coalspur team. Vista is a world-class asset and I am excited to be part of the construction and operations team tasked with delivering this important project,” Gilligan said.
Vista is projected to produce 11 million tonnes per annum of coal over a 30-year mine life.
Construction is expected to begin in the first half of the year, with first production in 2015.
Last year, Coalspur increased Vista’s measured and indicated coal resource by 404% to 471Mt and confirmed the site’s potential for longwall operation.
The company said the 9984ha project had the potential to be the largest export thermal coal mine in North America.