Glencore advances Sukunka coal mine project in British Columbia

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office has released an Oct. 23 report prepared by project backer Glencore on the Sukunka metallurgical coal mine project to be located southwest of Chetwynd, B.C.

The mine will initially produce 1.5 million to 2.5 million tonnes per year (Mt/y) of metallurgical coal for export markets and this will increase to 6 Mt/y at peak production.

The Sukunka Project is subject to review under the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act. The Oct. 23 report, prepared by Glencore-hired Stantec Consulting Ltd., is called an Application Information Requirements (AIR) document and it identifies the information that must be included by Glencore in its upcoming application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate.

The Sukunka project tenure is owned by Boreas Inc., which is a jointly owned subsidiary of Xstrata Coal Canada Resources Ltd. (25%) and First Coal Corp.(75%). In May 2013, Glencore acquired Xstrata PLC and became the proponent of the Sukunka Project.

The executive team of Glencore that will handle this project consists of:

  • Matthew White, Country Manager-Coal. He has over 10 years in the coal industry with experience in finance, business analysis and business development.
  • Bryan Tiedt, Sustainable Development Manager. He has over 20 years in the coal industry with experience in sustainable mining practices, environmental compliance, waste management systems for coal operations and negotiating and implementing Native Title and Cultural Heritage Agreements in Australia.
  • Dayton Ostrosser, Site/Mining Manager. He has 26 years of mining experience in both underground hardrock and surface coal mining with experience in health and safety, operations, and exploration.

Property to be developed as a surface mine, with deep mine added later

The property is located southeast of the Sukunka River, and northwest of the Bullmoose Creek, within the Peace River Regional District. The Sukunka Project is about 55 kilometers south of Chetwynd and about 40 kilometers west of Tumbler Ridge.

Glencore proposes to develop a combined open pit and underground project producing premium hard coking coal. Open pit mining, which is a more efficient method than underground mining, will be used initially to extract coal from preliminary mining areas. Once the open pits are established they will provide an entry to the underground mining area, which is characterized by relatively flat coal seams and well suited to this mining technique.

Approximately 6 million tonnes per year of clean coal production is expected from the combination of open pit and underground mining. A prep plant will be built with a clean coal capacity at that level, and a raw, run-of-mine capacity of 7.5 million tonnes/year.

“The Sukunka Project, being located in western Canada, is well placed to secure marketing opportunities to the growing Asian market which continues to seek diversification from existing supplies,” the AIR said. “Coal will be transported along the CN Railway to a port facility in Prince Rupert, British Columbia (or an alternate Canadian West Coast port) for export to overseas markets. An alternative port for coal export that could serve the Sukunka Project will be described in the Application.”

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.