Teck seeks to double Line Creek mine site near Sparwood

Existing mine near Sparwood close to exhaustion, proposed expansion would keep all 470 staff employed.

  • Mar. 14, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Teck is seeking public input on a proposal to double the size of its Line Creek mine near Sparwood.

It is one of five mines Teck operates in the Elk Valley. Teck is the second largest exporter of steelmaking coal to the global steel industry, and the largest in North America.

The existing mine has been in production for nearly 29 years and it supports 470 full-time employees, according to Nic Milligan, Teck Coal’s Manager of Community and Aboriginal Affairs.

“At current production rates, the reserves in the existing Line Creek Operations (LCO) will be exhausted by approximately 2014. As part of our plan to sustain coal production into the future, we are proposing the development of two new operating areas directly north of our current operations.”

The new areas would develop reserves from the Mount Michael and Burnt Ridge North pits, and the expanded project would employ about 485 people.

“This number of direct jobs is similar to the current LCO workforce. As mining is finished at the existing site, workers will transition their duties to the new operating areas,” said Milligan.

What’s more, construction of the new project would employ about 100 people full time each year for two years.

Teck initiated the project in late 2009 and is now going through the approval process with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The application has been formally accepted and is now in the review stage.

Once the review process is complete, the EAO will submit a report to provincial ministers by August 13, and the ministers are then tasked with deciding whether to approve the project.

Milligan said the new pits are expected to produce 59 million metric tonnes of clean (processed) coal and 600 million cubic metres of waste rock. If the project is approved production will begin in 2014. The new operating area would cover about 1,840 hectares.

The project will also include building an active selenium water treatment plant to remove selenium from runoff into the Dry Creek drainage basin. It would be commissioned in about 2022. Outside of the LCO project, another water treatment plant is proposed for West Line Creek, and it is expected to be commissioned in 2014.

Selenium is a natural element that can be toxic in high amounts.

It is released from rock that is exposed to the elements, and mining exposes large volumes of rock.

According to Teck, at low flow times of the year, selenium levels can occasionally exceed drinking water guidelines in watercourses near mine activity.

“The selenium treatment plants and other control measures that have been incorporated into the project will reduce total selenium releases from LCO so that they remain below current levels,” said Milligan.

Copies of Teck’s application to the EAO are available at Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford libraries, or online at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.

The public can comment on the application until April 5 at the same website, by fax to 250-356-6448, or by mail to Karen Christie, Project Assessment Director, Environmental Assessment Office, PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC, V8W 9V1.

Just Posted

Huge snowstorm headed for Elk Valley

Mainroad issues weather event advisory with up to 25cm expected over the next 24 hours

Fernie fatbiking season in full swing

Riders hit the trails on Global Fatbike Day

Fernie man receives federal fire service medal

Kim Sedrovic is retiring from Fernie Fire Rescue after 25 years with the service

Thrift shop turns five

Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has raised $370,000 since inception

Elk Valley mayors to lead hospital district board

Dean McKerracher, David Wilks elected to Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Most Read