A green light for Elk Valley Coal Partnership’s development of the Cheviot Creek pit at its Cardinal River Operations, Alberta, will mean an additional 1.4 million tonnes this year and 2.8 million tonnes by 2005.
The first coal production is anticipated by the end of the fourth quarter of this year.
"Our outlook for coking coal sales is very positive. Strong export coal markets present us
with an excellent opportunity to continue our operations near Hinton, Alberta, and to increase our production capacity for high-quality coking coal," said Elk Valley Coal CEO Jim Popowich.
Elk Valley Coal has submitted its mine license application to obtain the remaining approvals from the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and Alberta Environment to develop the Cheviot Creek pit. Mining activities will begin in the new mining area once the mining license approval is received.
The capital cost to develop the Cheviot Creek pit to an annual production rate of 1.4 million tonnes is estimated at $50 million, which is expected to be largely incurred during the second half of 2004. Additional capital cost to expand production to 2.8 million tonnes per year is anticipated to be another $70 million.
Ford Canadian Coal trust holds a 65% ownership share in Elk Valley.