The Coal Valley Resources Inc. (CVRI) unit of Sherritt International (TSX: S) is pushing forward with an environmental review of new coal reserves within the Robb Trend tract for its Coal Valley mine in Alberta.
In April, CRVI filed with the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board an application and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report which addresses the environmental aspects of the proposed project.
CVRI owns and operates the Coal Valley Mine (CVM) which is located about 100 kilometers south of Edson in the Coal Branch area of Alberta. The CVM has been in operation since 1978 employing both truck/shovel and dragline mining methods.
Depleting coal reserves within the existing CVM permit area require further mine development to allow CVRI to maintain its workforce and to continue to supply thermal coal to customers. At current forecasted rates of production, CVRI will be required to enter new permit areas by mid 2014 as coal reserves in the existing permit area will be depleted. CVRI is proposing to continue operations of the CVM by developing coal resources in Robb Trend. The existing infrastructure and resources currently in place for the operation of the CVM will be extended to the new area.
CVRI’s reserve estimate for the Robb Trend project area indicates that it would release about 177.5 million tonnes of coal for processing yielding about 88.75 million clean tonnes. This additional tonnage would provide CVRI with the necessary resources to operate at projected rates of production until 2038.
Sherritt, which operates a number of mines in western Canada that supply minemouth power plants, is the largest thermal coal producer in Canada. CVRI is the owner of the CVM, the Gregg River mine, the Obed Mountain mine and the Coleman properties, all located in Alberta.
The CVM operation was the first exporter of thermal coal within the area and has the capacity to produce more than 4 million tonnes of sub-bituminous thermal coal annually. In 2005, CVRI expanded its Coal Valley processing plant to nearly 4 million tonnes per year, doubling thermal coal production capacity at the mine.
“The Coal Valley brand is known throughout the world as a consistent and stable producer of coal with favorable quality characteristics,” the application noted. “The high heat value, high volatile content and low sulphur values are attractive features for most coal users. Main markets are at numerous facilities in Korea and Japan.”