Sukunka coal mine fails first test

Sukunka coal mine proponent fails pre-screening for environmental review

A proposed metallurgical coal mine near Tumbler Ridge proposed by Glencore plc, one of the world’s largest mining companies, has failed its first test.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) last week informed the company it had rejected an application for a detailed environmental review.

In a letter to Glencore – which now owns Xtrata Coal Co., the company that initially filed the application – the EAO said the company had not met the requirements of the Application Information Requirements, which is needed before a project can be approved for an environmental assessment.

The EAO cites a “lack of detail related to mine planning, geotechnical information, geochemistry and water quality predictions.”

The company will have to resubmit its application, if it wants to move forward. A company spokesperson, who did not want to be named, said the company will review the matter, and it’s not yet known if the company plans to resubmit an application.

The proposed mine would start as a surface mine, producing 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes of steel-making coal per year, with a potential to increase to six million tonnes, with the addition of an underground component. It has a projected mine life of 20 years.

The mine would employ 700 workers during construction and 250 once the mine was in operation.

Just last week, a junior mining company proposing to build a coal mine on Vancouver Island withdrew from the environmental review process, just as the EAO was set to rule on an application by Compliance Energy Corp. (TSX-V:CEC) to build the Raven coal mine in the Comox Valley.

nbennett@biv.com