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Posted: August 22, 2016

Time to divest Dominion Coal Blocks: Bergen

The Official Opposition Critic for Natural Resources is calling on the federal Liberal government to divest the Dominion Coal Blocks.

Click to enlarge images. BC Government documents
Click to enlarge images. BC Government documents

Speaking at a news conference at Cranbrook’s Heritage Inn this morning (August 22), Hon. Candice Bergen (Conservative Party), Official Opposition Critic for Natural Resources, said it is time the rich seams of coal in the blocks would mean many jobs for the region and help boost the national economy.

“Canada’s natural resources are key to our future prosperity,” said Bergen (pictured above). “There are nearly 700 million tonnes of coal in these two parcels of land. Unlocking the potential for the extractive sector will create numerous jobs in the Kootenay region. Rather than focusing on endless consultations, the Liberals need to get to work and approve the divestiture of this property.”

Dominion coalblock-2The Elk Valley is home to the second largest active metallurgical coal mines in the world. Most of the coal mined is used in the production of steel, and is responsible for approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

The Dominion Coal Blocks comprise two parcels of federal Crown land, known as Parcel 73 and Parcel 82. They cover an area of approximately 2,000 hectares, and over 18,000 hectares, respectively, east of Fernie and south of Sparwood.

These lands were acquired by the Government of Canada in 1905 in exchange for a subsidy used for the construction of the Crow’s Nest Pass railway, a rail pass linking British Columbia and Alberta. Since the acquisition, the Dominion Coal Blocks have remained largely un-utilized.

David Wilks, former Member of Parliament for Kootenay – Columbia, had previously worked with senior Government of Canada officials to make progress on divesting this land to allow for economic growth and job creation in the extractive sector.

For more information

Divestiture of the Dominion Coal Blocks, Natural Resources Canada


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