Scene from the Grassy Mountain area north of Blairmore.
Pass Herald Staff
Altitude Resources Inc., a Calgary based company has signed an agreement to acquire up to 51% interest in Elan Coal Ltd., a private Canadian coal exploration and development company, based in Calgary. The 51% interest option gives Altitude interest in 22,000 hectares of coal leases in the area, as well as the right to conduct further exploration. The leases are adjacent to Grassy Mountain property purchased in January by Australian firm Riversdale Resources who plan to start coal testing in the fall.
According to Gene Wusaty, President and CEO of Altitude Resources, “It’s a win-win situation for both companies. Elan is a private company and this partnership gives them the finances to help the project take flight”. According to Wusaty, and Edmonton based Exploration Company, Dahrouge Geological, will be coming into the area for exploration field work and a drilling program to be completed by late this year and the beginning of the first quarter of 2014. “This will kick off a long-term development program”. It is the plan of Altitude to have a pre-feasibility study within an eighteen-month period.
Wusaty felt that the primary interest in the area is based on past information regarding coal deposits. “The property has already been the site of substantial exploration work dating from 1940 to 1970s with nine different companies”.
According to Wusaty, “this project is 15km east, across the mountain from as the Crow Flies, to Teck’s Greenhill and Fording River Operations and contains the same geological structure”.
It borders Riversdale Resources north up 55 km.
Wusaty felt that the primary benefit of mining in the area is that, “Alberta is one of the few places left in the world that has infrastructure and spare capacity on rail and on port”. In layman terms it is relatively easy to get the coal from the ground to the railway system to get it to the ports for shipment. This is not the same situation in other coal producing countries such as Australia, which is filled to port capacity.
The mining will take place in the MD of Ranchlands, which negates any tax benefits to the area. Currently council is trying to annex a portion of the land to the Crowsnest Pass, a situation that must be approved by the Alberta Government. The MD of Ranchlands, however, is presently not interested in the annexation.
Presently coal prices are at an all time low at $140 per metric ton of clean coal, however, Wusaty states, “I’m confident this is rock bottom and should go up due to the scarcity of good coking coal”.
According to Wusaty, “coal is the future of the Crowsnest Pass”.