NORTHEAST BRITISH COLUMBIA – The completion date for the construction of the Wolverine coal preparation plant and rail load-out has been put forward by six months, from early 2007 to July 2006. The Wolverine metallurgical coal project near Tumbler Ridge is owned by Vancouver-based WESTERN CANADIAN COAL CORP. (WCC).
The accelerated construction schedule is mostly due to a pledge by the SEDGMAN GROUP OF COMPANIES to build a turnkey coal preparation plant for WCC by July 2006. Sedgman, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Penn., specializes in the design, engineering, construction and operation of coal preparation plants and material-handling system. The plant will be built to handle 3.0 million tonnes of hard coking coal per annum, although its initial throughput will be 2.4 million tonnes.
Currently, the company’s mine permit allows for the annual production of 1.6 million tonnes of clean metallurgical coal on the Perry Creek and EB open-pit properties over an 11-year period. WCC has applied to the provincial government to increase the allowable annual production to 2.4 million tonnes. A decision is expected by the fourth quarter of 2005.
The estimated marketable coal from the Perry Creek and EB open-pits is 15.6 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and 0.3 million tonnes of thermal coal.
The previously-reported capital cost to construct a 2.4-million-tonne-capacity plant and related facilities for Wolverine was approximately $180 million. With planned initial production being increased to 2.4 million tonnes per year, pre-production stripping costs will rise. This combined with constructing a larger plant, are expected to bring the total Wolverine capital costs to $242 million, including $30-million in contingencies. The company does not anticipate that further equity financings will be required to the fund these capital costs.
Watch the construction unfold at www.westerncoal.com.