Melbourne-based Montem Resources (ASX: MR1) says its two key coal projects will not be impacted by the Government of Alberta’s decision to reinstate a previous coal policy that had been rescinded last June.
Furthermore, all Montem’s coal resource estimates are within the reinstated policy’s Category 4 — the least restrictive category — and so similarly unaffected.
Category 4, in which the company’s planned Chinook and Tent Mountain mines are located, covers areas where surface planning is contemplated.
The Alberta provincial government has also indicated that it has issued a directive to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) that “no mountain top removal will be permitted”.
That restriction does not apply to Category 4 lands.
No present projects in restricted category
Montem does not have any projects within the Category 2, the more restrictive category.
However, the company says it does have plans to explore land in Category 2 in the future and, at that time, will make applications to the AER that comply with the regulations.
Montem’s Canadian projects are located in the Crowsnest Pass of southwest Alberta province and contain 209.2 million tonnes of resources. This overall resource is divided into 3.7Mt measured, 151.9Mt indicated and 53.7Mt inferred.
Late last month, Montem reported that 13 drill holes at its Chinook Vicary project had intersected thick coal seams.
The cumulative coal thickness across those holes was an average thickness of 22.7m.
The company said the drilling confirmed the occurrence of near-surface, structurally thickened coal zones suited to open cut mining.
The Chinook project mining scoping study was almost completed at the time.
Two mines planned
Rail and port access have been established for exporting the coal.
Montem’s aim has been to confirm the quality of Chinook Vicary’s hard coking coal which historically was supplied to the Japanese steel industry from the Vicary mine that closed in the late 1970s.
It has a strike length of more than 40km of identified coal resources and is made up of two areas — Chinook Vicary and Chinook South.
Chinook has a JORC resource estimate of 149Mt of coal, of which 103Mt is indicated, the remainder inferred.
Chinook also contains an additional coal exploration target estimate of between 125Mt and 450Mt at Chinook Vicary.
The company also plans to reopen the Tent Mountain mine, which closed in 1983 due to poor market conditions. That mine was another operation that produced high quality coal for export to Japan.
Mining there is expected to begin in the first half of 2022 at the annual rate of 1.1Mt.