November 22nd, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 47
Public comment about new coal mine
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
By Keith McClary (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Grassy Mountain Coal Mine near Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada.
Pass Herald Reporter
The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) of British Columbia is holding a period of public comment from November 2 to December 5 regarding the proposed Bingay Main Coal project by Centermount Coal Ltd.

An open house took place on November 15 at the Community Conference Centre in Elkford with representatives from the EAO and Centermount Coal.

Anyone with comment on the environmental, recreation, economic, or health effects of the mine can provide feedback until December 5. All public comments are posted to EAO’s website and these comments will be considered when finalizing the draft Valued Components Selection Document.

Approximately two-dozen respondents have left commentary on the EAO’s website to date.

“The environmental impact of this project is too large. The potential for water contamination of not just excess selenium, but the industrial waste from the mine would be a disaster for the Elk River and its watersheds. The project would be a huge burden for the diverse wildlife in the area. It would all but completely ruin the main recreational access to the upper valley for residents of the Elk Valley,” wrote one commentator.
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Other comments noted that an additional mine in the Elk Valley, where there are already five other operating mines, would be excessive.

The project is currently in the “scope” stage of application with the EAO.

“The Environmental Assessment Office sets the scope of the project and the scope of the environmental assessment in its section 11 Order (and updates this scope through a section 13 Order) with input from Government agency experts and First Nations. This includes the requirement to prepare a Valued Components Selection Document that considers values that could be affected by the project and the extent of those project effects, including cumulative effects, and the requirement to hold a public comment period on the draft Valued Components Selection Document,” says David Karn, Senior Public Affair Officer with the Environment & Climate Change Strategy Communications Office.

The EAO determined that the project requires an environmental assessment before it can be approved as the Bingay Main Coal Project has a production capacity of greater than 250,000 tonnes per year, says Karn.
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Centermount Coal is proposing to build a new open pit and underground coal mine approximately 20 km north of Elkford in the Elk Valley, B.C. The project would produce 2 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year over a mine life of 15 years including construction and operation phases. The total area of the site is approximately 40 km2.

According to the August 2017 Bingay Main Coal Project Description submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, major infrastructure developments include “an open pit, coal processing facilities, ancillary infrastructure such as administrative offices and maintenance shops, temporary and permanent rock and topsoil storage areas, a 27km rail line, a 1km power line with associated substation to bring power to the site, and a rail load out facility.”

According to information on the Centerpoint Canada website published in February 2017, all construction permits are expected to be obtained in first half of 2018. The 18-month construction period is projected to begin mid-2018 and mining operations to begin in late 2019.
November 22nd, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 47
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