Coal company buys Blairmore land - news from the Pass

By Joni MacFarlane

Crowsnest Pass Promoter


An international player in the coal business announced a conditional sale of Grassy Mountain, signaling a possible return of the industry to Crowsnest Pass.

In a January 3 press release, Consol Energy Inc, the leading diversified fuel producer in the Eastern U.S, sold coal assets in the closing days of 2012.

Among the transactions were 35,000 acres north of Blairmore - known as Grassy Mountain - to Riversdale Resources, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The sale was worth $24 million.

Riversdale Resources will take control of the Grassy Mountain surface mine, where Consol’s share of the recoverable reserves is estimated at 30 million tonnes. The transaction is subject to certain conditions and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2013.

Riversdale Mining Limited (RML) began operations in 2004 and focused primarily on coking coal.

In 2011, they sold African assets worth $4 billion to Rio Tinto and the principals from RML formed privately-held Riversdale Resources who went on to acquire exploration rights over a nearly 10,000-acre coal deposit at Chickaloon, Alaska.

At the time, Chief Financial Officer at Riversdale, Anthony Martin, said they would look at additional opportunities in North America.

It appears they found one in Blairmore.

Grassy Mountain Mine dates from 1947 when West Canadian Collieries undertook open pit mining to offset its aging Greenhill and Bellevue mines. In those days, the coal was trucked down to the tipple at the Greenhill mine site. It remained in operation for a short ten years when market failure forced the closure of all mines owned by West Canadian Collieries.

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