British Columbia agency approves water plan for Teck coal mines

Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX: TCK.A and TCK.B, NYSE: TCK) said Nov. 18 that the British Columbia Ministry of Environment has approved the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, an area-based plan to address the management of selenium and other substances released by coal mining activities throughout the Elk Valley watershed.

Development of the plan was aided by a Technical Advisory Committee chaired by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, which included representatives from Teck, the Ktunaxa Nation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Montana, Environment Canada and other agencies and an independent scientist. Public input was received through three phases of consultation conducted in Elk Valley communities. Montana shares watersheds along the southern British Columbia border.

The plan establishes short, medium and long-term water quality targets which are protective of the environment and human health for selenium, nitrate, sulphate and cadmium, as well as a plan to manage calcite formation. The approved plan is a public policy document that will guide future regulatory decision making regarding water quality and mining in the Elk Valley.

Teck will implement aquatic monitoring, water quality testing and various water quality management measures in order to achieve the target levels in the plan. This work is expected to include construction of water diversions and water treatment facilities at a number of our Elk Valley Operations, including:

  • A water treatment facility at Line Creek Operations, currently undergoing commissioning, with expected full operation in early 2015 
  • A water treatment facility at Fording River Operations, planned for 2018 
  • It is anticipated a water treatment facility will be necessary at Elkview Operations following the Fording River facility 

Previous estimates contemplated total capital spending of approximately C$600m over a five-year period on the installation of water diversions and water treatment facilities, including the C$120m already invested to build the facility at Line Creek Operations. Teck is reviewing its estimate of the capital and operating costs based on the approved plan and intends to provide an update in its year end results. Based on work conducted to date, it is expected that the revised cost estimate will not vary materially from those previously disclosed.

Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with major business units focused on copper, steelmaking coal, zinc and energy. It is Canada’s largest producer of metallurgical coal, most of which is exported to Pacific Rim markets.

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.