Northeast coal mine investment secures jobs for ‘long term’

Anglo American begins work on Roman Mine near Tumbler Ridge

Geologists from the province and Anglo American standing on the future site of Roman Coal Mine in 2012

Work is now starting on a major coal mine expansion near Tumbler Ridge, in B.C.’s northeast.

Anglo American Mining Group subsidiary Peace River Coal is investing $200 million to open the new Roman Mine adjacent to its existing Trend Mine.

The company promises to maintain 450 existing jobs and expects to create 100 new jobs in construction over the 16-year mine life. It was approved and permitted this month in an unusually quick turnaround time.

Anglo American aims to boost production of northeast metallurgical coal, used in steel making, from 1.5 to at least 2.5 million tonnes annually. The coking coal would be hauled by rail to Prince Rupert for export.

Provincial officials were on hand to count the project as a step toward Victoria’s Jobs Plan goal of opening several new mines and adding thousands of jobs by 2015.

But Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett noted the project is also about protecting what now exists.

“If Roman wasn’t going to get built, in four years we would lose 450 mining jobs in this area plus all the indirect benefits that come from this mine,” he said.

Still, Bennett called Anglo American’s decision a “great leap forward” because the firm has deeper pockets than more junior miners to ride out low commodity prices.

“This company is investing here in the northeast on the long term,” Bennett said. “They’re going to be here and operate even when the commodity coal price is not at the very top.”

Anglo American is giving up tenure to 1,852 hectares of land to protect caribou habitat in what CEO Mark Cutifani called an unprecedented conservation step.

The firm is also contributing $2.5 million to the Peace Northern Caribou Plan and signing benefit agreements that will deliver jobs to local first nations.

The announcement came less than a month after a more disappointing decision three weeks ago by Teck Resources Ltd. to delay restarting its shuttered Quintette coal project, which is also near Tumbler Ridge, as a result of depressed metallurgical coal prices.

Bennett said he’s not concerned.

“Teck has invested enormous money in Quintette and they’re not going to walk away from that,” he said. “They’re just not ready to pull the trigger on it yet.”

Just Posted

New accessible playground opens at View Royal’s Eagle View Elementary School

Students overjoyed while faculty and parents feel relief

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Greater Victoria developer rushes to demolish historic wall before Oak Bay applies heritage permit

Abstract Development punches holes in one of Oak Bay’s oldest stone walls

$775-million wastewater project on track to be completed on time, within new budget

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins praises public education aspect of project

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read