British Columbia lays out review plan for Cardero coal mine

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office issued a Nov. 28 order setting up the procedure for a planned environmental assessment on the Carbon Creek coal mining project of Cardero Coal Ltd.

Cardero Coal started the pre-application process May 9 at the EAO for a new surface and underground metallurgical coal mine with an average annual production rate of 2.9 million tonnes of clean coal. A project report provided to provincial regulators said that parent Cardero Resource Corp. is a publicly-traded mineral exploration company based in Vancouver. In June 2011, Cardero acquired the balance of Coalhunter Mining Corp., now renamed Cardero Coal, which holds a 75% interest in the Carbon Creek mine project.

The project is located in northeastern British Columbia, about 40 kilometers west of Hudson’s Hope, south of Williston Lake, and 50 kilometers north-northwest of Highway 97 through Pine Pass. The Canadian National rail line connecting the Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge areas with Prince George passes 30 kilometers south of the property. Proximity to rail is an important cost metric when it comes to this coal, which would be bound by rail to coal export terminals on British Columbia’s West Coast.

The property is located within the Peace River Coalfield and forms part of the Rocky Mountain Foothills structural belt which lies to the east of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Trend. The two main coal-bearing units occurring throughout the Foothills region are the Gates Formation and Gething Formation. The property has an estimated measured and indicated resource of 166.7 million tonnes and an inferred resource of 167.1 million tonnes (combined surface and underground).

In the project area, coals of the Gething Formation are primarily ranked as mid-vol bituminous. Gething coals have produced satisfactory metallurgical products, particularly after beneficiation. A full program of sizing, washability, and metallurgical testing will occur in conjunction with more advanced engineering and economic analyses, Cardero said in the May 9 filing.

The project will require surface mining followed by combined surface and underground mining. Approximately three-quarters of the current defined resource could be mined underground. The mine will be designed to achieve an annual average production rate of 2.9 million tonnes of clean coal. The wash plant will have a 15,000 tonne per day capacity.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.