British Columbia’s Environment Minister, Mary Polak, and provincial Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett have issued a conditional Environmental Assessment Certificate to Teck Coal Ltd. for the Line Creek Operations Phase II project, located in the Elk Valley.
The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office. The ministers also considered supplemental information concerning the Minister of Environment’s order for Teck Coal to develop an area-based Management Plan to address water quality in the Elk Valley, through which the company will stabilize and reverse trends in water contaminant concentrations from coal mining in the Elk Valley watershed.
The Environmental Assessment Certificate includes 26 conditions, which together with the design specified in the Certified Project Description will mitigate potential impacts of the project.
This project will extend the life of Teck’s Line Creek Operations, which would otherwise exhaust coal reserves and cease operation in 2014. Phase II will see the production of 3.5 million tonnes of clean coal a year for an estimated 18 years.
Line Creek is an open pit coal mine. This expansion would involve development of two new open pit coal operating areas totaling about 1,940 hectares. The proposed project would use existing infrastructure, which includes waste and coal haul roads, mine access roads, power supply distribution network, coal stockpile and sorting areas, coal processing facilities, coarse coal reject area, cable belt (coal conveyor), Canadian Pacific rail line and rail load out loop.
Teck Coal is a unit of Teck Resources, which is based in Vancouver, B.C. Teck Resources operates six open pit coal mines in western Canada, with five of them located in the Elk Valley and one located in west-central Alberta. Teck Resources is the largest metallurgical coal producer in Canada and ships heavily into the Pacific Rim market.