Coalspur is also in “advanced discussions” with a number of groups in an effort to secure additional funding and to finalize coal marketing arrangements. And it recently announced a deal with Canadian National Rail to move the coal to Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert. The Vista project would be Alberta’s largest export coal mine, shipping up to 12 million metric tons of thermal coal per year to Asia to fuel electrical power plants.

Coalspur expects to award contracts this spring in order to begin earthworks and mine pre-development work this summer.

It is still awaiting approval from the Energy Resources Conservation Board and hopes to begin logging this winter in the areas planned for construction. The Town of Hinton provided formal public support for the project recently and Coalspur said it has reached an agreement setting terms for ongoing co-operation and collaboration with one of the main aboriginal groups in the area.

The project boundary starts just 10 km south of town. Coalspur has 55,000 hectares of coal leases in the region, but the initial project covers 10,000 hectares over a 20-km stretch of land with three gently dipping coal seams.