“This is a landmark agreement for the company and significantly de-risks our funding requirements,” said Ben Smith, vice president-operations for Atrum. “Through this facility, we have the plant and equipment required to deliver the bulk sample mine, upgrade to a small scale mine and further ramp up and progress to [a production level of approximately 1.5 million metric tons per year of run-of-mine coal].” Ultimately, the mine could produce as much as 5.4 million mtpy.

The company will be able to commission mining equipment in stages, as production at Groundhog North ramps up, and in sequence with the various stages of permitting. “Long lead items associated with commissioning Atrum`s first mine, Groundhog North will be ordered during 1H 2015,” Smith said.

The company expects to receive its bulk sample mining license at Groundhog North for the first 100,000 mt during 1H15. This permit, combined with the production finance package, will facilitate maiden anthracite shipments of ultra-high grade anthracite to Asian export customers later this year.