Peter Nix pours a bag of coal onto a blanket at the B.C. legislature Tuesday

Coal exports boom, climate worries bloom

With coal exports booming and more mines opening in northeastern B.C., federal and provincial officials are looking for ways to fast-track an expansion of Prince Rupert port facilities to keep up.

Demand for metallurgical coal and other minerals is rising globally, and what capacity was left at Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert has been taken up by a contract announced last week with U.S. producer Arch Coal for shipments sent by rail from Wyoming.

Speaking to reporters from a mining conference in Vancouver Tuesday, B.C. Minister of State for Mines Randy Hawes said even without the U.S. coal shipments, the remaining capacity at Ridley wouldn’t be enough to keep up with demand that has now emerged.

Mines in the Tumbler Ridge area have reopened, new ones have been developed and Teck Resources is studying whether to reopen the Quintette coal mine that closed in 2000.

Ridley Terminals has indicated it could accelerate an expansion planned for 2015 to 2012, and federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl is looking at ways to finance it, Hawes said.

The federally-owned Ridley port has been “swamped with demand” as commodity producers discover it is the shortest ocean route to Asia-Pacific markets, he said, and government marketing of the Pacific Gateway project has worked better than expected.

As well as coal, Ridley is sending shipments of wood pellets and logs harvested by Coast Tsimshian communities in northwestern B.C.

As politicians and mining executives celebrated a major turnaround in coal and metal mining in B.C. this year, protesters gathered at the B.C. legislature to call for all coal exports to be halted by 2015.

British Columbians for Climate Action brought a letter to B.C. cabinet ministers, pointing out the hypocrisy of promoting B.C.’s modest carbon tax on fossil fuels while promoting the export of 35 million tonnes of coal in 2010.

“When burned, this coal more than doubles the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that British Columbia acknowledges in its official domestic inventory,” the group states.

Just Posted

Fernie, Sparwood voter turnout highest in 10 years

Breakdown of voter turnout at Elk Valley municipal elections from 2008-18

LIVE BLOG: Official election results for City of Fernie

Follow this post for comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Municipal Election

LIVE BLOG: Full election results for District of Sparwood

Follow this post for comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Municipal Election

LIVE BLOG: Full election results for District of Elkford

Follow this post for comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Municipal Election

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Elk Valley shows it’s got Pride

Second annual Elk Valley Pride Festival a huge success

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Most Read