British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak, along with Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, announced Sept. 19 that they have issued an environmental assessment certificate to Teck Coal Ltd. for the Baldy Ridge Extension project, located approximately 2.5 kilometers east of the District of Sparwood in southeast British Columbia.
The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia͛s Environmental Assessment Office. The office concluded that the project will be constructed, operated and decommissioned in a way that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur, with the exception of visual aesthetics.
There are 25 conditions in total that are attached to the environmental assessment certificate. Design requirements are specified in a certified project description. Each of the conditions and the certified project description are legally-binding requirements that Teck must meet to be in compliance with the environmental assessment certificate. Key conditions for the project require Teck to:
- Develop a plan to monitor water quality related to and potential replacement of District of Sparwood domestic water well No. 3;
- Develop management plans to monitor and mitigate effects on wildlife, fish and fish habitat, air quality, noise, visual quality and vibration;
- Retain an independent environmental monitor to audit whether Teck is complying with the environmental assessment certificate conditions to avoid or reduce adverse effects from the project on environmental, health, economic, social and heritage values; and
- Develop a plan to achieve long-term selenium concentration limits in Harmer Creek.
The Baldy Ridge Extension project will require various federal, provincial and local government permits to proceed. The Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies.
This project is an extension of the currently operating Elkview Operations open pit coal mine. The project will mine approximately 153 million metric tonnes of clean coal and will extend the overall life of the Elkview operations open pit coal mine by about 23 years, until 2045. As an extension of existing operations, the project will use existing facilities, including haul roads, overland conveyor, hopper and breaker station, main power supply line, gas line, main mine access roads, coal processing facilities, Canadian Pacific Railway line and load-out loop, explosives storage and surface water management infrastructure.
This property is located on privately owned land (fee simple) in the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, adjacent to the community of Sparwood, in the southeast corner of the province. The expansion project will produce up to 10 million tonnes of clean coal per year.
Teck is Canada’s largest producer of metallurgical coal, the vast majority of which is exported to Pacific Rim markets like Japan and China.