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

UPDATE: Construction on Hwy. 4 halted after tree crashes into traffic

Trees are being cleared along the highway between Port Alberni and the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Find your groove with hand drums in Port Alberni

Nanaimo-based trio will be holding drumming workshop and concert

Alberni Senior Men’s Floor Hockey League reunites

Port Alberni has always been a hockey town, even when there was no ice

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

PHOTO: Shark spotted near Vancouver beach

Woman snaps photo of a seal, heron and what’s believed to be a Pacific spiny dogfish

Possibly lightning-caused fire burns within metres of homes in Kamloops

Grass fire remains under control by BC Wildfire Service

Ferry repairs will mean sailing waits to and from Vancouver Island

B.C. Ferries is advising that repair work to one of the vessels is taking longer than expected

A year after fire, B.C. senior and his dog thankful to be together

Terry Theroux was separated from Scruffy for 3 months after evictions, fire displaced Highland residents

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

Man missing from Fraser Valley prompts massive police operation near Grand Forks

RCMP saying little about the case of Wilfred Kilgren of Popkum who was eventually found in Creston

Second Narrows Bridge collapse survivor remembers tragic day

Kelowna’s Norm Atkinson remembers what it was like to survive B.C. ‘s worst industrial accident

Lions need to focus on football after disruptive fan incident: coach

Wally Buono says his players need to focus on football after defensive back Marcell Young hit a fan

Most Read