On April 4, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency terminated the comprehensive environmental study of the Lodgepole strip coal mine project of Cline Mining.
The project would have involved the construction and operation of a coal mine approximately 50 kilometers south of Fernie in British Columbia. “The decision to terminate the comprehensive study was based on the province of British Columbia’s decision to designate the Flathead Watershed Area, near the Waterton Lakes/Glacier International Park, as a conservation area and to therefore prohibit mining and oil and gas development,” said an agency statement. “As the project was located within the Flathead Watershed Area, it was withdrawn from the environmental assessment process.”
A few years ago, Cline Mining kicked up a storm of opposition, both on the Canadian side of the border and also in Montana, where politicians like U.S. Senator Max Baucus, D-Mont., decried the potential impacts of mine runoff in this border-spanning watershed. That eventually led to the provincial decision to protect this area and also the writeoff of the project by Cline Mining.
Lately, Cline Mining has been concentrating on developing the New Elk underground coal mine in Colorado. Last October, it closed the sale of its undeveloped Lossan metallurgical coal deposit to Xstrata Coal for C$40m. The Lossan property is in the Peace River Coalfield of northeastern British Columbia, far away from the protected area near the Montana border.