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

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Most Read