Montem Resources Ltd (ASX:MR1) is making steady progress on its objective to become the operator of steelmaking coal mines in Canada by developing its properties in the Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada.
The first component of this objective is to re-establish mining at the Tent Mountain Mine, whilst exploring and evaluating the development potential of the Chinook Project.
The Tent Mountain Mine and the Chinook Project are estimated to contain 232 million tonnes of in-place coal resources (JORC 2012), with four areas that have hosted previous open-cut and underground mining.
The previously mined properties have had extensive exploration, and as brownfield developments, are significantly more advanced than greenfield properties.
Tent Mountain Mine Re-start Project
Montem is focused on re-establishing mining at the Tent Mountain Mine to produce steelmaking coal.
Over the past three years, Montem has completed extensive exploration and engineering studies, including a Definitive Feasibility Study on the Tent Mountain Mine Re-start Project.
Montem requires additional licences to re-start open-cut mining at Tent Mountain, and applications for these licences are being prepared by the company.
Chinook Project potential
Montem has identified the potential for a large mining complex to be established at the Chinook Project.
A Scoping Study, being a preliminary technical and economic study of the potential viability of open-cut mining at the Chinook Project, was announced in February 2021.
The results from the Scoping Study indicate an economically and technically viable project with upside justifying progressing to a Pre-Feasibility Study.
Montem intends to conduct further exploration at Chinook with the intent to increase the percentage of indicated resources within the mine plan to over 70% of the total resources.
Tent Mountain restart status
In June 2021, the Canadian Federal Minister of Environment and Climate change designated Tent Mountain as a project requiring review under the Federal Impact Assessment Act.
Hence the Tent Mountain Mine, requires both Provincial and Federal approval to re-start.
The Federal process is being initiated in Q3 2021 with the submission of the Initial Project Description to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC).
The terms of a Federal Impact Assessment will be established by the IAAC planning process that can take up to 180 days to finalise.
Montem is awaiting the outcome of its IAAC submission and the implications of the Federal EIA process prior to completing the Alberta EIA application.
This will enable Montem to work on both applications simultaneously, limiting the amount of re-work.
Alberta coal policy update
The Government of Alberta halted all exploration activities on Alberta 1976 Coal Development Policy Category 2 lands while it completes a public consultation process for the development of a new Coal Policy.
As Montem’s Tent Mountain Mine and the Chinook Project are located on Category 4 lands, its activities remain unaffected by the decision.
Montem supports the Government’s process to devise an updated coal development policy for Alberta, which includes a public consultation period, and it will continue to stay involved in the consultation.
An independent committee undertaking public consultation will report to the Alberta Government by November 15, 2021.
Montem is participating in the review both as a member of the Coal Association of Canada and as an independent project proponent.
Hard coking coal prices hit record high
As Montem has suffered delays to its project development at the Tent Mountain Mine, the company is investigating alternate methods of monetisation of its strong asset base of hard coking coal adjacent to rail.
Montem is conscious of the opportunity the current coal market affords and is actively seeking to participate in it.
Hard coking coal prices globally are reaching unprecedented highs with export pricing of hard coking coal from Canada and the USA reported at over US$300/ tonne.
Whilst Australia remains blocked from selling to China, prices for Queensland PLV HCC are over US$250/tonne, indicating strong demand for coking coal across the globe.