Friday, June 7, 2013

Are the Aussies exploring the North Coast?

An Australian Coal company is on a quest for a shipment point in North America, and if an article in the Globe and Mail is on the right path, County Coal of Sydney, Australia may be marking Prince Rupert on it's exploration map.

The company which is involved with coal mining in Wyoming and has plans for expansion and acquisition for other assets in the Powder River Basin most of which is in Wyoming and Montana.

Details of  their current holdings and what the future may hold for coal mining in that region are provided on their website, as part of their Company Overview.

It would seem that those expansion plans form the basis for their interest in securing a shipment point on the Pacific coast, and as they outline in their overview, discussions with ports and infrastructure providers in North America continue.

A further review of that prospect can be found in a shareholder update from April, where County Coal reviews the possible options ahead for shipment of their product.

The background information on their proposed terminal, provides an interesting review of what they are looking for and some of the initial communications that they have had on the proposal.

Among the key items of note:

The Canadian Terminal is located at a greenfields industrial site that can accommodate Capesize (+150,000dwt) vessels for the export of coal and bulk commodities from North America to the Asian market.

The initial engineering study on the Canadian export terminal indicates the port is technically feasible and initial costing indicates the project is economically viable.

In Canada, local and regional government is supportive of large export projects.  "To date, we have had positive engagement with both the British Columbia Provincial Government and the major stakeholders around the project area. These discussions have given us confidence to proceed with the project," said Mr. Rod Ruston, County's Managing Director.

You can review the full backgrounder here.

It's from there that the Globe and Mail seems to have picked up the trail, examining the prospectus of County Coal and then making a few phone calls of British Columbia's two main Pacific Ports.

A call to Port Metro Vancouver didn't find much success, with no immediate comment available from Port officials in Vancouver.

However, a call to Prince Rupert did provide for a comment,  as Michael Gurney, the Manager of Corporate Communications for the Prince Rupert Port Authority provided the traditional corporate talking point on such potential projects.

Explaining that, "officials don't typically comment on proposals until they have been announced formally, but he added that Ridley Terminals Inc. is currently meeting all the coal export requirements for the port."

You can review the full Globe and Mail article here.

So as the County Coal search for a shipment point continues, if the Aussies are coming, we'll apparently have to wait for official confirmation while we look over their maps and graphs for hints of potential investment for the North Coast.

As the Globe points out in its article, word of a new mining development and shipment point for coal has environmentalists in Vancouver more than a little alarmed, with resistance already growing to the current levels of coal shipped out of Vancouver.

We imagine that the possibility of adding volume to the Vancouver Port system, most likely will spur on even more discussion and protest.

A possibility that could weigh heavily in favour of development further up the coast at Prince Rupert, though with the recent controversy over shipment concerns out of Ridley Terminals, any proposed development will be dealing with an more expanded review on envrionmental impact on the region.

You can review our current archive of items of note on Coal shipments out of Ridley Terminals, compiled from our Industrial Development archive page.

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