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 Coal developer Atrum Coal is continuing its information drive for its Elan coal project, in Alberta.

The company was last year forced to pause a prefeasibility study for the Elan project after the government of Alberta took a decision to reinstate the previously rescinded Coal Development Policy for Alberta.

The policy dictates the condition for coal leasing, exploration and development, and prohibits future coal exploration approvals on particular land types.

Elan is located on land designated as Category 2 under the coal policy, referring to land not normally considered for openpit coal mining, unless appropriate environmental stewardship is applied.

The company on Tuesday noted that fellow coal developer Benga Mining, which is hoping to develop the Grassy Mountain coal project, also in Alberta, has hit a roadblock. That particular project was halted with the change in legislation, and Benga, along with two First Nations groups had applied for permission to appeal the provision component of the Joint Review Panel (JRP) decision, which had found that the project was not in the public’s best interest.

The single appeal judge has now denied all three applications for permission to appeal, meaning the three parties would not be able to appeal the JRP decision. However, Benga and the two First Nations have also filed a judicial review challenge of the provincial component of the JRP decision with Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

The Grassy Mountain project holds a Category 4 land use classification, being land on which surface or underground mining may be considered, with nearly 25% of the project sitting on previously mined land, which was mined over 60 years ago and never properly restored at the time, but will be restored if the project proceeds.

Atrum nonexecutive chairperson Glen Koropchuk said on Thursday that the company would take all learning opportunities, including the decisions of the JRP on the Grassy Mountain project, to work with its own Indigenous and local community stakeholders in order to improve its Elan project environmentally and socio-economically.

Elan is expected to require a capital investment of $773-million.

An updated scoping study into the project increased the expected mine life of the Elan project from the 15 years considered in the previous scoping study, to 21 years, with total run-of-mine coal mined increasing from 126-million tonnes to 187-million tonnes.

Annual throughput rates have remained unchanged at 10-million tonnes a year, while total saleable hard coking coal product has increased from 76-million tonnes to 112-million tonnes.