Canada's generous rail and port

UNLIKE the listed coal explorers in Australia, Coalspur has abundant port and rail options to satisfy its Vista coal project in Canada.

Blair Price

At Informa’s Coal Exploration & Development Hotspots conference in Brisbane, Coalspur managing director Gene Wusaty could have made other executives green with envy.

He said the Canadian National Railway Company’s main line passes east-west along the north of its Vista coal project and is running at just 30% capacity.

The Ridley Island Coal Terminal is about 1200 kilometres west of the project in the Hinton region.

But the terminal boasts excess capacity and even though it is rated at 12 million tonnes per annum, has expansion potential to double to 24Mtpa.

The deepwater port on the Pacific Coast can also handle Cape size vessels – with the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group still working on this capability for its new terminal.

Wusaty added this terminal was 36 hours closer to Asian markets than the Westshore Terminals used by major Canadian coal producer Teck Resources.

There is a possibility to bring in a dragline for the Vista coal project, with a scoping study outlining the potential for mining to produce 4Mtpa of export thermal coal for a mine life of 14 years.

The life of mine strip ratio for raw coal production was estimated to be 4.6:1, while rail and port costs were forecast to be $C25 a tonne.

But Coalspur keeps adding more permits to its project area and further prefeasibility studies are underway.

A definitive feasibility study is due to begin in 2011 with results ready in the December quarter of this year.

Mine construction is expected to start in early 2012 with commissioning and pre-strip operations to start in the June quarter of 2013.

The Vista project holds 905.7Mt of resources with 533.3Mt in the measured category.

Coal quality analysis determined a product coal with 6212 kilocalories per kilogram of energy content, with 11.9% ash, 4.5% moisture and 0.3% sulfur, all on an air-dried basis.

Coalspur shares are up 2.5c this morning to 106.5c.