British Columbia wraps up environmental review of Murray River coal mine project

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office said Oct. 1 that an environmental assessment certificate has been issued to HD Mining International Ltd. for the Murray River Coal project, which is located 12 kilometers south of Tumbler Ridge.

There are 24 conditions that are part of the environmental assessment certificate. Each of the conditions and the certified project description are legally-binding requirements that HD Mining must meet to be in compliance with the certificate. The certificate conditions were developed following consultation and input from First Nations, government agencies, communities and the public.

Key conditions for the project require HD Mining to:

  • Hire an independent environmental monitor to determine whether HD Mining is complying with the conditions in the environmental assessment certificate;
  • Develop a plan to address the risk and impacts of subsidence;
  • Develop a suite of management plans for matters that include wildlife, fish and fish habitat, wetlands, air quality, noise, groundwater and surface water and impacts from invasive plants; and
  • Develop plans to support healthy communities and identify measures to mitigate economic and social effects.

In addition, based on comments from First Nations and government agencies during the environmental assessment, HD Mining decided to construct a production decline under the Murray River instead of constructing an overland conveyor. The decline will reduce impacts on wildlife.

The Murray River Coal project will require federal environmental assessment approval and various federal and provincial permits to proceed. The Environmental Assessment Office will coordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that certificate conditions are met throughout the life of the project.

The Murray River Coal project is an underground coal mine, with an estimated capital cost of C$668 million and a 25-year operating life, which will create 780 jobs during operations. The mine will produce up to 4.8 million tonnes of clean coal per year.

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.