First Coal Corporation has achieved a major step forward in its plans to explore and develop a portion of its large coal position in northeastern British Columbia. First Coal’s President and CEO Douglas Smith signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Chetwynd, along with Chief Derek Orr of the McLeod Lake Indian Band. The McLeod Lake Indian Band is the first band on board for this new development. The company’s Central South and South Cirque properties fall within the Treaty 8 territory, which includes the traditional aboriginal lands of the McLeod Lake Indian Band. Through this memorandum, First Coal has committed to provide employment and business opportunities to area First Nations and local companies while also ensuring safeguards to protect the environment and local caribou population. – Advertisement -The company has met frequently with four of the First Nations within Treaty 8 territory including the McLeod Lake Band, Halfway River First Nations, Saulteau First Nations and West Moberly First Nations, as part of the consultation process. First Coal Corporation expects to begin production in early 2010.