A new company, Canada Coal, has started an exploration program to find out more about the huge coal deposit on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut.

The company’s president and CEO, Braam Jonker, said he sees a lot of potential in the area – including high-quality coal demanded by steel-makers around the globe.

"The secret is to find the right type of coal. And with the sheer amount of coal that's on Ellesmere Island, I do believe that if we do find the right type of coal, that we will also find it in a substantial quantity."

The company sent a prospecting team to the Forsheim Peninsula last weekend and they will stay for six weeks. If the results are good, Canada Coal plans to drill next year – spending more than $15 million.

Jonker said Canada Coal is serious about the project, even though the Nunavut Impact Review Board rejected a 2010 proposal for test drilling in the region by WestStar Resources.

Jonker said he has already been to Grise Fiord, Nunavut, twice and said he will work with the community and government.

Grise Fiord resident Larry Audlaluk is on the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s land management board. He said he’s open to the project if Canada Coal respects the regulatory and benefits agreement process.

However, Audlaluk said he has concerns about the impacts of development on the local environment and also on the Peary caribou herd in the region.

ellesmere island, nunavut