British Columbia advances HD Mining coal review process

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office said May 15 that it plans to hold two open houses on plans by HD Mining International to construct an underground coal mine approximately 12.5 kilometers south of Tumbler Ridge.

The proposed project, one of several new coal mine projects in the works in British Columbia, is anticipated to have an annual production of 6 million tonnes of metallurgical coal over 31 years.

The proposed project is subject to review under British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Act. An environmental assessment certificate must be issued before any work can be undertaken on the proposed project. However, prior to submission of an application, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) must first approve Application Information Requirements (AIR).

The AIR will specify the studies to be conducted and the detailed information to be provided by the company in its application. EAO has now received the draft AIR from the company and is inviting comments on this draft.

One of the open houses is June 4 in Dawson Creek and the other is on June 5 at Tumbler Ridge. At the meetings, HD Mining will be able to provide information relating to the proposed project. The draft AIR is up for comment until June 20.

HD Mining holds 57 coal licenses that comprise the Murray River property. Incorporated in British Columbia in 2011, HD Mining is a private corporation formed by two majority partners, Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd. (55%) and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc. (40%), with 5% held by another party. As the majority investor, Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd. is responsible for project investment and guides mine development and operation.

Huiyong Holding Group (HHG), the parent company of Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd., is a private company based in China and a leader in underground coal mining, the draft AIR noted. Currently HHG operates nine mines throughout China.

Notable is that the open houses may get a little heated outside of any environmental issues raised, since HD Mining ignited major protest in the last couple of years with stated plans to import workers from China to staff the mine.

The draft AIR noted: “The Proponent received approvals from the BC Government in February 2012 and March 2012 to mine a 100,000 tonne bulk sample to test the coal for use as a coking coal and to perform coal washability testing. The raw coal mined for the bulk sample will be shipped by truck directly to the port in Prince Rupert for testing to be completed overseas. The Proponent is currently preparing the site to mine the bulk sample in the fall of 2013.”

The draft AIR said the later application will, among other things, address “workforce requirements (including use of temporary foreign workers).”

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.