Coal Asia Unit To Start Coal Production in October '13

Coal Asia Holdings Inc. has unveiled plans to fast-track the commercial coal production of flagship subsidiary Titan Mining and Energy Corp. (TMEC) to October this year from the previously targeted date of January 2014.

At the same time, Coal Asia said it was evaluating and testing two new large coal deposit areas within its coal operating contract (COC) area in Davao Oriental that were previously undiscovered.

In a statement, Coal Asia chairman Harald Tomintz said he was pleased with the early completion of drilling and exploration activities as well as the exploratory results.

"Coal Asia wants to bring the local industry into a sustainable level, and developments like these not only keep us on track, but also further accelerate our goal in achieving that," Tomintz said.

Coal Asia claims to hold the country’s second-biggest coal reserves and resources. It believes it has the potential to become the biggest producer of high-grade bituminous coal in the country.

The company said it was making full use of the proceeds from the initial public offering (IPO) held last October when Coal Asia debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange, raising P800 million in fresh funds to build up TMEC’s capacity to complete its exploration and mine development activities in the Mindanao area.

A previous disclosure said the net proceeds from the IPO were earmarked to bring its Davao Oriental mine into production by 2014 and its Zamboanga, Sibugay, mine by 2015. The expected start of commercial production for Davao Oriental has been moved up as a result of the completion of drilling and exploration activities a few months ahead of schedule.

Coal Asia has a public float of 20 percent. Majority shareholders have agreed to a lock-up period of one year instead of the PSE mandated six-month period.

"The developments in both exploration and production have only skimmed the surface of Coal Asia’s true value, which is why the majority shareholders have agreed to a longer lock-up period," Tomintz said.

The company also said a reevaluation of Coal Asia’s reserves and resources was under way. It said "a better and improved reserve figure can be expected once the report is finalized before the end of the first quarter."