There is renewed optimism in the small resource community of Grande Cache after a foreign company agreed to buy the steelmaking coal mine that has been shuttered for two years and helped drain the town’s population.
Hundreds of jobs were wiped out in the community northwest of Edmonton after metallurgical coal prices tanked, forcing the local operator to shut the surface and underground mines in 2015.
Facing almost $500 million in debt, Grande Cache Coal was forced into receivership a year ago. Since then, steelmaking coal prices have bounced back, and the court-appointed receiver has found a buyer.
Sonicfield Global, one of the mine’s lenders, plans to restart mining operations “as soon as possible” after the purchase closes at the end of May, according to court records.
“We have a number of people that have properties and family in Grande Cache that are working elsewhere; they can’t wait to get home,” said Gary Taje, a representative of United Mine Workers of America, which represented coal miners in Grande Cache.
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