Western Canadian Coal initiates strategic review process



    TSX: WTN, WTN.DB and AIM: WTN

    VANCOUVER, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Western Canadian Coal Corp (TSX: WTN and
WTN.DB and AIM: WTN) ("Western" or "Company") announced today that it is
embarking on a strategic review process to examine and consider opportunities
with the objective of maximizing shareholder value.
    With the Company's financial condition now stabilised following the
completion of the C$40 million private placement of convertible debentures
(refer to December 3 and December 7 press releases), Western is now looking at
the means and mechanisms of moving forward with the Falls Mountain and Brule
developments and believes this is an opportune time to review strategic
alternatives. The alternatives may include but are not limited to strategic
alliances and refinancing opportunities, mergers, acquisitions, or a sale of
all or part of the business.
    The Company also believes the strategic review is timely for shareholders
considering that recent business analyst reports indicate that US Dollar coal
prices are expected to increase next year to record price levels. Those
reports in conjunction with the Company's potential to grow annual production
from 3.4 million tonnes to over 7 million tonnes through the continued
development of the Wolverine properties and the Brule and Falls Mountain
projects and the Company's plans to reduce costs to the mid-$70s per tonne
from current levels in the mid-$80s pose positive prospects for the Company
going forward.
    In order to advance this process in a formalised manner a Steering
Committee ("Committee") comprised of representatives from the independent
directors of the Company and the principal investors will be formed and will
consider and make recommendations on strategic alternatives, and at a later
stage it may be necessary for an independent committee of the Board to be
formed to consider proposals that may be developed.
    The Company cautions shareholders that there is no assurance that the
Committee will make any recommendation regarding a potential transaction or
any other strategic initiative. Also, should the Committee make a
recommendation to the Board, there is no assurance that such recommendation
will be implemented.
    Western anticipates it will make no further announcements regarding the
strategic review unless the disclosure of a material change is required.

    About Western Canadian Coal

    Western Canadian Coal Corp. produces 3.4 million tonnes of high quality
metallurgical coal from two mines located in the northeast of British
Columbia. The company also has interests in various coal properties in
northern and southern British Columbia and a 50% interest in the Belcourt
Saxon Limited Partnership, which was formed to explore and develop the
Belcourt and Saxon group of properties in northern BC. Currently, these
properties provide the company with an estimated 25 years of coal reserves.

    Cautionary Statements

    The information in this news release contains certain forward-looking
statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties,
which are beyond Western's control, including the price of coal, risks
relating to the exploration and development of coal deposits, and other risk
factors outlined in Western's Annual Information Form available on SEDAR at
www.sedar.com. Western's actual results and performance could differ
materially from those expressed in, or implied by, such forward-looking
statements and, accordingly, no assurance can be given that any of the events
anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur or, if
any of them do, what benefits Western will derive from them. This press
release is neither an offer to purchase securities nor a solicitation of an
offer to sell securities.





For further information:

For further information: David Jan, Manager, Investor Relations &
Corporate Development, (604) 608-2692, djan@westerncoal.com

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WESTERN COAL CORP.

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