Coal mine gives glimmer of hope to Grande Cache
The town of Grande Cache lost around 400 jobs when the coal mine operated by Chinese owned Grande Cache Coal (GCC) suspended operations in 2015. With a population of a little over 4,300 some of which have left the area now, the job losses, which reportedly represented around a third of Grande Cache’s jobs, came as a bitter blow.
Not all of the jobs at GCC were taken by locals. However, the effect on the local economy has meant hardships in an already slow economy. Now there is some hope on the horizon, presumably because GCC’s operation at Grande Cache mined relatively rare metallurgical coking coal used for making steel, which is making somewhat of a comeback. Thermal coal production is not so likely to make a return anytime soon as coal burning power stations are closed across the globe.
In January 2016, GCC filed an application to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AEG), for approval for its 12 South A Underground Mine Project. Now, because of an update published by GCC there is a lot more meat on the bones for mining in Grande Cache once again.
On November 21 GCC revealed in an regulatory update that it has submitted an application to the AEG to lift the suspension of surface operations to the No. 8 Mine and CPP (Coal Processing Plant) that was suspended in February 2015. GCC said that subject to shareholder’s approval and the negotiation of key contracts it expected to resume surface mining operations by the end of the first quarter of 2017 with the CPP becoming operational again within a month afterwards; pre-production activities are expected to start in January 2017. GCC said that is seeking an additional six years of mining approval beyond the two and half years that are already licenced.
Regarding underground operations GCC said that it is intending to submit an application to mine four seams of the No 12 South B2 operation. GCC has already submitted applications for its 12 South A Underground Mine Project and said it will submit an application for reclamation of the abandoned No 7-4 Underground Mine Area.
GCC has indicated that it has tentatively scheduled an open house in Grande Cache on December 14 where more information will be available regarding its plans for 2017 and beyond; more information will be posted by GCC when the open house date and venue is confirmed.
On November 21 GCC revealed in an regulatory update that it has submitted an application to the AEG to lift the suspension of surface operations to the No. 8 Mine and CPP (Coal Processing Plant) that was suspended in February 2015.