The plans for part of NWP’s transport designs to get coal from the Crown Mountain project to market. Pictured: Grave Creek Rd which will be widened, and a rail load-out near the Elk River. (Image courtesy of NWP Coal)

The plans for part of NWP’s transport designs to get coal from the Crown Mountain project to market. Pictured: Grave Creek Rd which will be widened, and a rail load-out near the Elk River. (Image courtesy of NWP Coal)

Crown Mountain coal project on track for 2023 construction

The company had hoped to have submitted environmental assessment documentation by now, but has been delayed

The Crown Mountain coal project near Sparwood has seen some delays in the Environmental Assessment (EA) step in it’s journey to approval, but remains on track to begin construction in late 2022 according to the project owner, NWP Coal.

In a presentation to District of Sparwood councillors, general manager of Vancouver-based NWP Coal, Dave Baines said that they had originally hoped to have submitted EA documents to the provincial and federal governments by now, but due to delays in working through engagement with interest groups, they were looking at a Q3 timeline for submission.

The project, if it successfully clears regulatory hurdles and proceeds to construction and operation would have a peak construction workforce of 500, and an operational workforce of 350.

Baines said that “we’ve heard that housing is an issue in the Elk Valley, and as we bring is more workforce it is something we need to address.”

Other engagement items the company was working through with interest groups were backcountry access, wildlife, water, fish health, conservation lands, indigenous interests and more.

The Crown Mountain Metallurgical Coal Project is a 2 million tonne per year, open-pit, 15-year project that is close to Sparwood between Teck’s Elkview and Line Creek Mines. The project has an initial capital cost of $412 million.

Access to the site will be through Grave Creek Rd which will be widened to 12m and will remain open for recreational users to get to popular fishing sites at Grave Lake. The company will be using highway-grade trucks to transport coal to a rail loading site above the grasslands south of where Grave Creek joins with the Elk River.

The company owns exploration licenses to the south of the footprint of the proposed mine, but Baines said there were as yet no plans to increase the lifespan of the project beyond 15 years as the geology and resources of the area to the south was poorly understood.

If all goes to plan, NWP plans to construct the project between Q1 2023 and Q2 2024 for a Q3 2024 operations date. The project would begin to wrap up in 2038.

NWP is 78 percent owned by Jameson Resources and 22 percent owned by Bathurst Resources, which is the largest coal mining company in New Zealand. Both are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

READ MORE: New Centennial Square design green-lit by Sparwood
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