Melbourne-based Montem Resources (ASX: MR1) welcomes the decision by the Alberta government to hold an independent public consultation into new coal mine development in the Canadian province.
The company says its two primary coking coal assets, the old Tent Mountain mine and Chinook, are located on what is called Category 4 land, which under existing policy allows for surface, or open pit, mining.
This review is the latest twist in Alberta’s approach to coal mining.
In June last year the provincial government rescinded the 1976 coal policy guidelines but, after public concern was voiced, reinstated the guidelines in February.
The independent committee undertaking the review is to report its findings to the government in Edmonton by November 15.
Tent Mountain classed as ‘advanced’ project
As part of the review process just announced, the Alberta government has categorised two coking coal projects as being at an advanced stage — one is Montem’s Tent Mountain, the other being Hancock Prospecting’s Grassy Mountain.
The company plans to reopen the Tent Mountain mine, which closed in 1983 due to poor market conditions. That mine produced high quality coal for export to Japan.
Mining there has been expected to begin in the first half of 2022 at the annual rate of 1.1 million tonnes.
Montem managing director and chief executive officer Peter Doyle says the company looks forward to participating in the consultation process and providing input as a “responsible” coal project development.
“We support the process the government is undertaking to devise an updated coal policy for Alberta.”
He said Montem’s key assets are in Category 4 land that have always been contemplated for surface mining.
“We are seeking to restart operations at the Tent Mountain mine and to continue exploration of the Chinook project in the area surrounding the historic Vicary mine,” Mr Doyle added.
“These are strong assets on previously disturbed land with the potential for long-life. Low cost, hard coking coal production.”
Permits not affected by existing policy
Montem says it continues to operate under existing permits, unrestricted by the 1976 coal policy reinstatement.
The company says it also welcomes the provincial government’s commitment to work directly with indigenous leaders and communities to ensure their perspectives are heard and considered as part of the review.
In February, the Alberta provincial government also indicated that it had issued a directive to the Alberta Energy Regulator that “no mountain top removal will be permitted”.
That restriction does not apply to Category 4 land.
Montem does not have any projects within the Category 2, the more restrictive category.
However, the company has said it does have plans to explore land in Category 2 ground in the future.
Montem’s Canadian projects are located in the Crowsnest Pass of southwest Alberta province and contain 209.2Mt of resources. This overall resource is divided into 3.7Mt measured, 151.9Mt indicated and 53.7Mt inferred.