Coalspur Mines has signed an agreement with the Highland Park Group for a CAD$70m ($69.8m) loan facility to commence detailed engineering on its Vista coal project in Alberta, Canada.

Coalspur Mines managing director and CEO Gene Wusaty believes the facility agreement will significantly strengthen the company’s financial position as it will have access to about CAD$100m ($99.7m) in cash and credit lines.

"The company is now positioned to fund all anticipated activities at Vista through to the start of construction in early 2013," Wusaty said.

Coalspur is planning to commence detailed engineering on Vista, which it claims has the potential to be one of the largest export thermal coal mines in North America, in the coming weeks, after which the construction will follow.

An earlier study of the Vista project defined a 30-year mine life for the project, which is expected to produce about 11.2 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of marketable clean coal.

The development of the mine will be carried out in two phases with first production scheduled for early 2015.

The second phase of construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 and reach its full capacity of 11.2Mtpa of marketable coal production in 2018.

Coalspur is now focussed on initiatives including progressing project financing discussions with potential off-take partners, evaluating the utilisation of a mining contractor and submitting the final regulatory applications required to begin construction.