Public invited to comment on Fording expansion
First virtual open house today at 3 p.m.
The British Columbia Environment Assessment Assess Office (EA) process for a proposed expansion of Teck Coal Ltd.’s (Teck) Fording River Operations (Castle Project) is now accepting public comments.
Teck proposes to extend the lifespan of Fording River Operations, near Elkford, by expanding mining to Castle Mountain (referred to as the Castle Project), which is adjacent and south of the existing mine.
“This would allow Fording River Operations to maintain a production rate of up to 10 million metric tonnes of clean coal per year. Teck has proposed that pre-construction of the Castle Project would commence in 2023, followed by production in 2026. Teck anticipates that all coal for Fording River Operations would come from the Castle Project by the early 2030s and extend the life of Fording River Operations by several decades,” states the EA public process website.
The public comment period opened May 8 and runs through to June 22.
In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing guidelines from the Public Health Officer, two virtual open houses in support of the comment period will be held in favour of in-person events.
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Regional environmental watchdogs Wildsight May 12 published a piece noting concerns about the proposed expansion.
“If approved, the Castle Mountain mine would destroy critical habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, add significantly more selenium and other dangerous water pollution to the Elk Valley watershed, and lock in decades of high carbon emissions,” noted Wildsight’s Lars Sander-Green.
Along with impacts to bighorn sheep, the proposed expansion could also “leach selenium pollution into the upper Fording River for thousands of years, adding to already dangerous levels of pollution,” Wildsight stated.
Teck’s Fording River Operations provides employment for about 1,100 people.
Lead image: Teck’s Fording River Operations. e-KNOW file photo