Western’s three Canadian mines are all situated close to each other in northeast British Columbia, near the towns of Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge. The mines produce high quality metallurgical coal for export to steelmakers, primarily located in Asia.
Western’s production target for fiscal 2011 (year ending March 31, 2011) for the Canadian Operations is 4.2 million tonnes, up 100% from 2.1 million tonnes in the prior fiscal year. Western expects that Canada will provide approximately 69% of global production of 6.1 million tonnes in fiscal 2011
Western, as it ramps up its Canadian coal production, has the benefit of underutilized port infrastructure at Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert, BC. Ridley Terminals has a capacity of 12 million tonnes per year with current forecasts for calendar year 2010 throughput expected to be approximately 7 to 8 million tonnes.
Available port capacity is an important competitive advantage for Western, because most of the world’s other coal ports have become congested and are unable to expand easily to meet growing demand. Ridley Terminals, which is owned by the Canadian government, is expandable to 24 million tonnes per year of capacity with additional investment. Western’s contract with Ridley Terminal provides that Western’s coal will always receive priority service.
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