Vancouver- based WESTERN CANADIAN COAL has begun mining at its Willow Creek coal mine near Chetwynd and says low-volatile PCI coal should be available for sale early in 2009.

Approximately 900,000 tonnes of PCI coal are to be produced annually. Western is also refurbishing the wash plant so that it can produce hard coking coal by late next year at a rate of 600,000 tonnes per year.

The company noted that coal markets remain strong. It is selling hard coking coal from its Wolverine mine at US$300/tonne and PCI coal from its Brule mine at US$248/tonne. Those prices are locked in until March 31, 2009.

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