Between Brule and Wolverine, Conuma has already produced more than 2 million tonnes of coal. All this was shipped by willow The decision to invest in Conuma and reopen coal production in the Peace River Coalfield (“PRC”) was based on product quality: ultra-low volatile coal with the best properties found everywhere, and low-sulphur, low-phosphorus hard coking coals sought by steel producers on four continents. CPP coal flows with the Canadian National Railway and is shipped by seaboat from the Prince Rupert Terminal Ridley, B.C., one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. But the people who helped Conuma succeed are just as important as the mines, the rail and the port. When Conuma called the reopening, the community responded. Without the commitment and collaboration of our collaborators, their families, our four First Nations groups and our local communities, Conuma would not be able to achieve the success we have achieved. However, the accelerated speed of mine reopenings has created a transportation challenge. When Conuma decided to retake Wolverine in early 2017, he found that the coal-fired railway line between Wolverine and Port Ridley needed major repairs. Conuma had to rely on its partners to accelerate this work. “We partnered with CN [Canadian National Railway] to rehabilitate the track to get it faster,” says Bartkoski. The acquisition of Walter Energy`s mines was completed on September 9 last year and the first coal trucks left Brule 13 days later. The speed of ownership change and the resumption of mining was a reaction to the strength of the coal market – the price of premium carbide tungsten had doubled to $180 per tonne since the beginning of autumn 2016, when Conuma took over the mines until the end of the year.
John Schadan, P. Eng. has more than 30 years of mining experience in the mining regions of Western Canada and the United States. John`s experience includes a wide range of disciplines, including mining technology, mining, environmental and authority approvals, marketing, contract negotiations, joint venture partnerships and building trusting relationships with various stakeholder groups. Mr. Schadan is from KMC Mining and previously at Westmoreland Coal Company, where he was President and COO. Mr. Schadan is a registered professional engineer with a degree in mining engineering from Queen`s University. He is currently Director of the Coal Association of Canada and a former board member of the Alberta Resources Chamber. Wolverine was also sitting on a few hundred thousand tons of coal that had been unearthed by Walter Energy, but never processed and shipped. Conuma transported the coal to Willow Creek, where it could be put on the market. “Initially, The Wolverine operation was scheduled to open in the fall of 2017, but the market reacted strongly to the quality of the coal that would be available, so we decided to open at an early stage and recruit an additional 250 people,” Bartkoski said.