TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - Pacific Coal Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: PAK) ("Pacific Coal" or the "Company") announced today an operational update which demonstrates the progress of the Company to-date, and the entering into of an investment option agreement with Alpha Ventures Finance Inc. ("ALPHA"), Nano Dispersion Technology Inc. ("NDT"), and Bioenergy International Inc. ("BIOINT"), all companies incorporated under the laws of Panama.

Luis Carvajales, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Coal, commented: "We are very pleased to already see the results of increased efficiencies at our La Caypa mine, which show that our mine plan is on track for meeting our production and cost estimates. We are looking ahead to secure transportation capacity for our planned growth and minimize any possible logistical issues. Our new investment in BIOINT supports our plan to become a leader in the growing industry of asphaltite production."

Current production at La Caypa

Period Production
(metric tonnes)
Strip Ratio Exports
Q1 361,771 7.1:1 357,606
  • Actual production represents an increased annualized rate of over 1.3 million tonnes vs. management's projection of 1.2 million tonnes.
  • Actual strip ratio of 7.1:1 vs. management's estimate of 8.7:1 represents an approximate reduction of 18% and accounts for the Company's year-to-date cost efficiencies.
  • Average achieved sale price was US$99/tonne FOB, representing revenues in excess of US$35.5 million for Q1 2011.

Current production at Norcarbon/Cerro Largo

Period Production
(metric tonnes)
Strip Ratio Exports
Q1 1 110,693 16.8:1 n/a

1 100% interest in Cerro Largo was acquired on March 28, 2011

Concurrently with the previously announced exercise of the option to acquire the remaining 86% of Chianto S.A. (see news release dated March 29, 2011), and the rights to the Cerro Largo La Divisa mine, Pacific Coal is jointly working with mine operator Masering S.A. in undertaking an integrated mine plan to overcome the impact of extraordinary rainfall during the second half of 2010. This aims to bring the Company's production to an annualized minimum of 1.2 million tonnes by 2012. This integrated mining plan is expected to be implemented during April 2011.

Update on commissioning of ovens at CI JAM

Eighty beehive ovens have been commissioned at C.I. Jam since Pacific Coal initiated operations at the coking coal property. These ovens are operating below capacity for a trial period and the Company aims to achieve an annualized production rate of 36,000 tonnes of coke by the end of Q2 2011. Pacific Coal opted to proceed with the construction of an additional 80-oven beehive battery, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of Q3 2011. Management estimates the additional 80 ovens can potentially increase production capacity to 72,000 tonnes of coke per annum. The Company is evaluating the economics and potential of building further Solera ovens on the property. Initially, the raw coal to be utilized for the coke upgrading process will be obtained from the Company's own and third party purchased production on a 20/80 blend ratio. The Company's own production in the blend ratio is expected to be increased gradually to 40% over the next 3 years in order to reduce the reliance on third party purchased raw coal.

Exploration at La Tigra

Drilling at the La Tigra deposit has been re-scheduled and will start by the end of Q2 2011. SRK Consulting is currently on site preparing topographical information to provide the exploration grid with the objective of an eventual preparation of a National Instrument 43-101 compliant technical report. Management estimates that production is still on track to commence in late-2012.

Status on delivery of new truck fleet

Any impact to logistics that has been caused by reduced trucking volumes due to the increased transport demand from the oil industry will be mitigated by the commissioning of the Company's recently acquired trucking fleet. New trucking units are expected to be commissioned at the end of April 2011 in 15-unit lots on a weekly basis to complete 100 units. This will increase the total truck fleet available to Pacific Coal to 170 units, which covers the Company's export schedule comfortably.

Investment option agreement and coal/asphaltite trials

Pacific Coal has entered into an Investment Option Agreement (the "Agreement") with ALPHA, NDT and BIOINT. Pursuant to this Agreement, Pacific Coal has the right to acquire up to a 20% equity interest in BIOINT in exchange for a US$20 million investment. BIOINT, with the initial support of NDT and ALPHA, is now well advanced in the development of a technology whereby asphaltite, coal and/or pet coke may be crushed to a nano particle size and combined with water, resulting in a colloidal suspension fuel intended to serve as an alternate to fuel oil for the electricity generation industry. This suspension is generally referred to as Colloidal Coal in Water or ("CCW") or Colloidal Asphaltite in Water ("CAW").

Pacific Coal has agreed to advance US$5 million out of its US$20 million investment in BIOINT in exchange for a 5% equity interest and the Company agrees to fund the remaining US$15 million subject to the successful testing of CCW/CAW within the 3-month period following the completion of such testing.

The Company will earn a 1% equity interest in BIOINT for every US$1 million invested, up to a maximum of 20% equity interest for a US$20 million investment.  The US$20 million investment in BIOINT will be funded by the Company's recently completed financing with gross proceeds of over C$201 million (see news release dated March 11, 2011). BIOINT also intends to raise an additional US$20 million to fund the construction of the first plant for the production, marketing and sale of CCW/CAW with the successful development of the technology. 

BIOINT has already concluded successful trials of the technology with pet coke. Direct and CCW/CAW combustion trials are scheduled to be conducted with turbine manufacturer Babcok & Wilcox in early Q3 2011. The required samples are in the process of being collected and prepared by Pacific Coal.

Pursuant to the Agreement, the Company has been awarded additional rights including:

  (i)     An exclusive option to negotiate a 50/50 joint venture with BIOINT to build one or more plants to produce and market CCW/CAW out of its mines in Colombia. The plant(s) shall be operated by BIOINT and BIOINT shall be entitled to an operating fee to cover operating costs and expenses, plus a 6% technology royalty on the sales of CCW/CAW out of such plant(s). Pacific Coal shall have the right to sell the coal and/or asphaltite to the joint venture company at market prices.
  (ii)    Exclusive marketing rights for the CCW/CAW produced by the plant(s) with a 2% agency fee on such sales;
  (iii)    A pre-emptive right to purchase, at its option, such number of securities in any future equity offerings by BIOINT in order to maintain its 20% equity interest; and
  (iv)   For so long as it is in compliance with the Agreement and remains a shareholder of BIOINT, the Company shall have the right to appoint a representative to the board of directors of BIOINT.

ALPHA is a private company controlled, directly or indirectly, by Serafino Iacono, Miguel de la Campa, José Francisco Arata and other investors, which has been funding and supporting NANO and BIOINT in the research and development of alternate fuels, including the colloidal technology, since 2009. In addition, pursuant to the Agreement, Pacific Coal acknowledges the exclusive marketing right granted by BIOINT/NDT to Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. ("PRE"), which holds more than 10% of the shares of the Company and has 5 directors who are also directors of the Company, whereby PRE earns a marketing fee of two percent (2%) of the total sales of any CCW cargo produced out of pet coke and sold by PRE.

About Pacific Coal Resources Ltd.

Pacific Coal Resources Ltd. is a Canadian-based mining company focused on coal, coking coal, asphalt and asphaltite exploration, development and production from prospective producing, development-stage and exploration-stage properties in Colombia. The Company has acquired or entered into agreements to acquire various interests in several operating coal mines and projects, representing a substantive coal and asphaltite exploration and production area throughout Colombia. Pacific Coal is committed to implementing its exploration and development strategy with a comprehensive environment, safety and community program, meeting international standards of best practice.

Forward Looking Information:

This news release contains "forward-looking information", which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the future financial or operating performance of the Company and its projects. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Pacific Coal to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this press release and Pacific Coal disclaim, other than as required by law, any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, results, future events, circumstances, or if management's estimates or opinions should change, or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

SOURCE Pacific Coal Resources Ltd.

For further information:

Miranda Smith
Investor Relations
(647) 427-0208

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