First Coal Corporation

First Coal Corporation

February 23, 2009 20:47 ET

First Coal Awaits Provincial Approval to Resume Development Work in Northeast B.C. as First Nations Consultation Proceeds

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - First Coal Corporation (FCC), a privately held coal mining company developing properties in northeast British Columbia, has been notified by the B.C. government that its reclamation plan for its Central South property has been received and has now complied with all the government's requirements. The government is now reviewing the plan. Once approved, First Coal would be in a position to resume development work.

In December, FCC complied with a cease work order issued by the BC Mines Inspectorate for all activities on its South Central property. The cease order relates to work done during 2005 and early 2006 not covered under exploration permits of the day and in particular an area of approximately 12 hectares.

On January 9th, FCC submitted a comprehensive reclamation plan including cost estimates for all disturbances to date on the property after increasing the required bonding by another $75,000 as requested. The reclamation plan was accepted by B.C. regulators on January 29th and a further security bond of $50,000 was paid by FCC on February 3. Development work had been shut down on the South Central property for the winter.

FCC, incorporated in late 2004, has been developing two of its properties - Central South and South Cirque - containing primarily metallurgical coal. The properties are under tenure from the Provincial Government and are within the lands covered by Treaty 8, an agreement between the Government of Canada and certain First Nations in Western Canada.

FCC is proposing to use an innovative, remote controlled underground mining method at Central South that results in a significantly reduced project footprint. The system accesses the coal seams using a series of trenches and will have about 75% less surface disturbance when compared to conventional surface mining methods.

FCC has been involved in a public consultation process with four of the First Nations within Treaty 8 including the McLeod Lake Band, Halfway River First Nations, Saulteau First Nations, and West Moberly First Nations. FCC understands wildlife, and in particular caribou, is of considerable importance to First Nations people of the area.

As a result, the Caribou Mitigation and Monitoring Plan for Central South has been presented to B.C. regulators for review. This type of plan represents a standard approach to ensuring the preservation of wildlife at any mine. It is expected that full consultation will take place with First Nations so the plan can be finalized and approved.

The B.C. Government is required to consult with First Nations on all developments that FCC proposes. FCC also provides data and information to the First Nations and has, over the past year, met with First Nations to ensure that its plans are presented directly to them and the proposed operations are fully understood.

During the development and operational phases of its properties, FCC will be working continuously with First Nations. Subject to reasonable and competitive bidding by First Nations companies, it is expected that many of the benefits from the development activities will result in contracts and employment opportunities.

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