Grande Cache Coal has received an amended mine permit and a new mine licence from the Alberta Energy and Resource Conservation Board (ERCB) to develop its new No. 12 South B2 underground operation in Canada.

Currently the firm is assembling the necessary equipment, support facilities and infrastructure required for the new mining area.

The No. 12 South B2 underground operation has an estimated coal resource of 12.3Mt and is expected to start production in the third quarter of 2012.

Grande Cache Coal’s president and CEO Robert Stan said that ERCB’s approval will contribute to the firm’s goal of increasing the annual production to a target rate of 3.5Mt by the end of 2013.

Grande Cache Coal sold 390,000t of coal during the three months that ended June 30th 2011 compared with 450,000t in the same period last year.

An equipment malfunction at Westshore Terminals in the latter part of June and shipping delays resulted in two vessel loadings being delayed until the first week of July.