Birch Mountain’s limestone quarry approved

Vancouver – Birch Mountain Resources (BMD-V) has received provincial approval for its Muskeg Valley limestone quarry located near Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta.

The Natural Resources Conservation Board’s Decision Report has given the go ahead to construct and operate the limestone quarry. Provincial approvals are expected imminently.

Muskeg Valley quarry will produce a range of limestone products, including aggregates used in asphalt and concrete. The quarry will be central to the booming Athabasca oil sands operations in area, and will feed expansion of infrastructure in the region.

Birch Mountain has tenders out for contract operation of the quarry, upon receipt of final permits, and expects production by late-summer 2005.

A prefeasibility report, conducted by engineering firm AMEC Americas, on the company’s Hammerstone project reviewed proven and probable limestone reserves of 1.2 billion tonnes. Initial capital costs of $130 million were estimated for development of the quarry and construction of an aggregate and quicklime plant. The prefeasibility study estimated a quarry life of up to 70 years and showed a combined pre-tax net present value of $698 million.

The company, which recently added an American Stock Exchange listing, has a market capitalization of $196 million based on its 67.7-million shares outstanding and $2.90 per share trading level.


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