VANCOUVER, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - Western Coal Corp (TSX: WTN, WTN.WT and WTN.DB and AIM: WTN) ("Western" or "Company"), announced today at its Annual and Special Meeting ("Meeting") of shareholders that it is planning to expand production to 10 million tonnes of coal per year by 2013.
John Byrne, Chairman of Western Coal said at the Meeting, "The opportunities and returns are tremendous. The projects include:
- Expanding Brule to 2 million tonnes per year,
- Developing an underground mine at Perry Creek which will expand the
operations at Wolverine to nearly 3 million tonnes,
- Re-starting and expanding Willow Creek to a 1.8 million tonne
producer of PCI and hard coking coal,
- Purchasing new equipment at the two mines, Maple Coal and Gauley
Eagle, in West Virginia to their full potential of 1.8 million tonnes
(or 2 million tons) and 1.4 million tonnes (or 1.5 million tons),
- Assisting Energybuild Group Plc, which we have a 50.6% interest, to
grow to 750,000 tonnes per year, with further opportunities beyond
The Company expects to initiate the development of both Brule and Willow Creek in the first half of calendar 2010. This allows Western to take advantage of the recovery in world metallurgical coal markets, with spot prices for coking coal now over US$170 per tonne. Assuming the continued recovery in steel demand, the Company expects next year contract coal prices to be significantly higher.
John Hogg, President & CEO of Western Coal states, "With current operations performing better than expected along with the expectation of higher coal prices in the near-term, we believe the time is right to expand our operations. Cash costs at Wolverine are now around $100 per tonne, which is almost 50% lower than fiscal 2009 costs. The year-to-date effective stripping ratio at Wolverine is now approximately 13 to 1, which is almost 20% lower than the average in fiscal 2009 of 16 to 1, and trending towards life-of-mine ratio of 10 to 1."
All resolutions at the Meeting were approved by shareholders, including the name change of the Company to Western Coal Corp.
Western is a producer of high quality metallurgical and thermal coal from mines located in northeast British Columbia (Canada) and West Virginia (USA). The mines have the capacity to produce 7 million tonnes per year and have over 20 years of coal reserves. Western also owns a 50.6% interest Energybuild (EBG: AIM) which produces high quality anthracite and thermal coals in South Wales (UK). Other interests owned include a 45% interest in Xtract Energy (XTR: AIM), 20% interest in NEMI Northern Energy & Mining (NNE.A: TSX) and 100% of a small gold and antimony operation in Australia. The Company is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and trades on the AIM and TSX stock exchanges under the symbol "WTN". More information can be found at www.westerncoal.com
- 2009 AGM Chairman's remarks:
- 2009 AGM President's presentation:
SOURCE WESTERN COAL CORP.
For further information: For further information: David Jan, Director, Investor Relations, (604) 608-2692, David.Jan@westerncoal.com