Coalspur gets a bit behind schedule on Vista mine project

Coalspur Mines Ltd. (ASX: CPL, TSX: CPT) on Aug. 15 reported further progress on its application for regulatory approval of the big Vista coal mine project in Alberta, Canada. 

Coalspur has received a formal notice of hearing from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), which effectively confirms that Vista is in the final stages of the application review process. Coalspur said it expects this to be the final step prior to the AER issuing the licences necessary for the development of Vista.

The AER has been able to issue this notice because all technical and environmental matters related to Vista have been met. Following a final review in late September, the AER will decide whether a hearing will be needed to resolve any outstanding concerns. The company said it is engaged with the AER to complete the application process under the new regulations, which have been in effect since June 17.

Coalspur has undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement over the last two years with all parties that could be impacted by Vista. As a result, there is strong community support for Vista, and the company said it has reached agreement with a number of potentially impacted parties and been able to reduce the Statements of Concern (SOC) lodged with the AER down to seven. Coalspur continues to engage with parties that it believes may be legitimately impacted by Vista and is confident that its discussions will be concluded within the timeframe stipulated by the AER.

Coalspur also said the Canadian National Railway (CN) has received final approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency for construction of the planned rail line which will provide CN with access to Vista’s loading site.

Coalspur’s President and CEO Gill Winckler said: “We are disappointed that construction on Vista will not be able to commence in September 2013 as previously expected, however, our development schedule includes numerous contingencies which will allow us to maintain the capital budget and achieve first production from Vista in mid-2015 as planned, assuming that we begin construction later this year.”

Coalspur said July 16 that it has achieved financial close and first drawdown of US$37m in regards to the senior debt facility secured from EIG Global Energy Partners for the development of its Vista coal mine project.

Coalspur said June 19 that its board has approved the development plan for the Vista project. The development plan for Phase 1 of Vista involves:

  • Constructing and commissioning a six million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) capacity thermal coal facility by mid-2015, with the capability to expand to 12 Mtpa;
  • A development capital cost of C$458m, with a lump sum turn-key contract covering US$221m (about C$226m) of this expenditure; and
  • Constructing the 6 Mtpa facility in one stage as opposed to the previously envisaged two stages.