Port Metro Vancouver takes comment on coal export project

Port Metro Vancouver in British Columbia is taking comment until Dec. 17 on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) covering a plan by Fraser Surrey Docks to build a coal export facility.

Port Metro Vancouver is currently reviewing a project permit application submitted by Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) for the development of a Direct Transfer Coal Facility to handle up to 4 million tonnes of coal per year. The Direct Transfer Coal Facility would be at the southwest end of the existing terminal.

FSD is located mainly on federal land under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority d/b/a Port Metro Vancouver. The direct transfer of coal from rail to barge would take place at this planned facility, with the coal-laden barges moving down the Fraser River from FSD to the mouth of the Fraser River and then in the Straight of Georgia for barge unloading at Texada Island. The U.S-based BNSF Railway would serve the new FSD facility.

The EIA, written by consultant SNC-Lavalin, said this facility would mostly handle low-sulfur sub-bituminous coal, with indications that much of this coal would be from the Powder River Basin in the U.S. The EIA noted that two General Electric dust suppressant products would be applied to coal in the barges. “The GE products are expected to maintain dust control effectiveness for the entire barge movement, in a range of climatic environments (e.g., during a rainfall event),” said the EIA.

This is one of a handful of coal export projects in the works in British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, to take advantage of expected growth in coal demand from countries around the Pacific Rim, particularly China and India. Some U.S. coal is already being railed out of Montana to ports in British Columbia, since there is no actual dedicated U.S. coal export facility along the U.S. West Coast at this point.

Fraser Surrey Docks has a multi-purpose marine terminal located on the Fraser River in Surrey, BC. It handles containers, forest products, steel, agricultural products and other items.

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.