Two major resource companies from different industries are now working together in northern B.C.
Forestry giant Canadian Forest Products (Canfor) and upstart coal player Cardero Resource Corp. have signed a deal on two key parts of Cardero's hopes for a coal mine near Hudson's Hope.
The agreement grants access to Canfor's large boat, the MV Williston Transporter. Normally used for moving trees for Canfor's milling purposes in the Williston Lake region, it is now also available for Cardero's purposes moving metallurgic coal. The coal would be floated from the east end of Peace Reach into the main body of Williston Lake, then south to the railhead at Mackenzie. It will then roll by train through Prince George and on to the coal ports of Prince Rupert.
"This charter party arrangement will terminate at the end of 2015, at which time it is anticipated that Cardero Coals purpose-built tug and barge will be commissioned to transport coal through the remainder of the currently proposed mine life," said Hendrik Van Alphen, CEO and president of the mining company.
The Canfor boat will also be used to transport some construction and mining equipment from Mackenzie to the Cardero property. The proposed site is known as Carbon Creek and shows strong indications of a sizable amount of metallurgic coal. More exploration is underway, but final approvals by various levels of government are still pending.
Canfor officials chose not to comment on the deal with Cardero.
"Cardero Coal will pay for the charter of the MV Williston Transporter, but anticipates receiving revenue from the logging of the mine site under the timber harvesting agreement," said Van Alphen, in reference to the second element of the Canfor deal - the forest company's purchase of the logs from the Carbon Creek site. Before any coal can be dug, the surface material has to be cleared, including the trees which will, according to the agreement, be used to make lumber for Canfor customers.
The terms of that timber purchase were also not disclosed.
Cardero did discuss the early stages of building their own vessel. Van Alphen said, "It is anticipated that Cardero Coals purpose-built tug and barge solution will be constructed on site at Mackenzie. A Request for Qualification has been circulated to engineering firms with marine experience and responses are currently under review. It is anticipated that the final design and tender process will begin in [the second quarter of 2013] and will be completed early in the third quarter of 2013."