Halfway River First Nations sign agreement with First Coal

Photo: Halfway River First Nations Chief Ed Whitford, left, signs the Memorandum of Understanding with President of First Coal, Douglas Smith – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca

The Halfway River First Nations officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding with First Coal Corporation on Thursday night.

President and CEO of First Coal, Douglas Smith, says his company has been working for a year to gain Halfway River’s trust.

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First Coal is planning to explore and develop coal resources from the Peace River Coal Field near Chetwynd.

The company will be using a relatively new piece of equipment called the ADDCAR Any Dip Highwall Mining System.

According to First Coal, this remotely-operated system offers the potential for lower operating costs and significantly reduced surface disturbance compared to conventional open pit mining. This is the first time the ADDCAR system will be used in Canada.

Smith also says the agreement between First Coal and Halfway River will ensure jobs for First Nations.

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Now, if all goes as planned, First Coal will soon be applying for a bulk sample permit. Then, the company will apply for a mine permit and begin production in the summer of 2010.

First Coal believes there are enough resources in the area for the proposed mine to last 20 years.