VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/22/13 -- Cardero Resource Corp. ("Cardero" or the "Company") (TSX: CDU)(NYSE MKT: CDY)(FRANKFURT: CR5) is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Cardero Coal Ltd. ("Cardero Coal") has signed a non-binding letter of intent ("LOI") with Conifex Timber Inc. ("Conifex") with respect to a proposed lease of land located within the Industrial Zone at Mackenzie, BC. Cardero Coal intends to develop the site as a metallurgical coal transload facility, which would handle all aspects of coal transfer from barge to rail ("Transload Facility"). Cardero Coal has also entered into discussions with Navcor Inc. ("Navcor"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Conifex, to negotiate a Transload Operating Agreement for the planned Transload Facility.
Cardero Coal plans to transport metallurgical coal from the Carbon Creek mine site to the Ridley Terminals Inc. facility (Figure 1) at Prince Rupert ("Ridley"), using a combination of barge and rail transportation. The Transload Facility will be the interface between the two forms of transportation, consisting of a barge docking system, through which metallurgical coal will be unloaded from a barge, and a railcar loading system, through which the coal will be loaded onto empty rail cars for transportation to Ridley. At full production, it is presently envisioned that the Transload Facility will be capable of handling up to 5 million tonnes per annum. The initial lease term will be 20 years, ultimately renewable to 40 years.
Cardero Coal is presently in discussions with Navcor with the aim of finalizing a Transload Operating Agreement for the Transload Facility. Navcor has considerable expertise and experience in transportation of bulk commodities. It is currently envisioned that Navcor will have a role in the operation of both the Transload Facility and the management of CN Rail shipments between Mackenzie and Ridley. The involvement of Navcor is subject to the settlement and execution of a formal Transload Operating Agreement.
The LOI provides Cardero Coal with a 9-month period of exclusivity during which time it is anticipated that the definitive lease agreement and operating agreement will be finalized. Over the coming weeks, Navcor and Cardero Coal will move to finalize rail track design and transload layout so that detailed designs can be included in the Feasibility Study for Carbon Creek presently underway. Geotechnical testing for the rail track and civil work is anticipated to be completed in 2013. Completion of the lease arrangements with Conifex is subject to a number of conditions precedent, including completion of satisfactory due diligence by Cardero Coal, the settlement and execution of the definitive lease document, and confirmation by Cardero Coal that it can obtain the required rail service, water lease and other permits and authorizations necessary to construct and operate the Transload Facility.
Cardero Coal believes that the transportation of metallurgical coal by barge via Williston Reservoir to the railhead at Mackenzie is an elegant and cost-effective solution. Cardero Coal intends to construct surface facilities and a processing plant in an area north of the planned mine, such that clean coal can be conveyed a short distance to the waiting barge. From there, the coal will be barged 175 kilometres to the Transload Facility at Mackenzie.
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