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

Hamir brings agriculture to the Comox Valley Regional District forefront

Air quality also high on priority list for new Area B director

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ in Courtenay 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

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Steady stream of voters at Filberg

Voter turnout has been a steady stream Saturday at the Florence Filberg… Continue reading

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

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

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

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read