More coal is expected to roll through Prince George from the North. A promising coal deposit near Hudson's Hope was studied closely for more than a year and the results released on Sunday. The results were excellent, according to the company planning to mine the coal, Cardero Minerals Inc.
According to their extensive exploration drilling program, the Carbon Creek deposit's estimated bulk is between 166 million tonnes to 468 million tonnes.
The same pre-feasibility study also drew a better financial estimate for Cardero. The bill to get the mine ready for production is estimated at $217 million (cut down from the previous estimate of about $300 million). The operating costs are expected to be somewhere between $114 per tonne and $110 per tonne, which was also less than previously figured.
"I believed when I joined the company that we had an opportunity to turn the Carbon Creek asset into one of the largest producing, lowest cost operators in the region," said Angus Christie, Cardero's chief operating officer. "This report demonstrates that we are in position to turn our expectations into reality and establish this asset as the benchmark against which other developments in the region will be evaluated."
Mackenzie, Prince George and Prince Rupert all figure in the company's transportation plans for Carbon Creek coal.
In May, Cardero signed a 15-year agreement with Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert, set to begin in 2014. Ridley must first add to its infrastructure (a fourth stacker / reclaimer) to meet the total production capacity expected at their terminal from the combined coal mining activity around the region.
"The company has begun preliminary discussions with CN Rail to haul its coal to the port," said Cardero spokeswoman Nancy Curry, which would be through Prince George, changing directions from southbound to westbound. "At this time Cardero would envision the finished product being moved by barge from the mine site to MacKenzie where it would then be placed on the rail line."
The mine is located about 50 kms west of Hudson's Hope, near the eastern end of Williston Lake's Peace Reach. The barges would sail the east-west reach then head south to Mackenzie down the main body of Williston Lake.