EAO Sukunka coal mine project back to the drawing board

The proposed location of the Sukunka Coal Project, 40 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge.

The provincial Environmental Assessment Office has confirmed that following careful review a Glencore application for the Sukunka Coal project in the South Peace doesn’t satisfy application information requirements.

It has therefore decided not to accept it, and has issued an order under a section of the Environmental Assessment Act reflecting the fact that the Swiss-based multinational commodity trading and mining company has decided not to proceed with the previously proposed underground mine portion of the project, or the tailings storage facility.

The EAO says Glencore has been provided with a detailed list of the outstanding requirements in the application, which it says include a lack of detail related to mine planning, geotechnical information, geochemistry and water quality predictions.

The company had proposed to develop and operate an integrated surface and underground metallurgical coal mine located about 40 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge, with a life expectancy of twenty years.

The initial production estimated was one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half million tonnes per year, but it was projected to increase to six million, if and when the underground mining got underway.

As of last year, Glencore was ranked 10th in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies, and it is also said to be the world’s third largest family business.

The Ministry of the Environment says the company can resubmit its application once it has addressed the identified EAO issues.

However, it also notes BC environmental assessments involve a rigorous, thorough review, and it is impossible for the EAO do that unless it has all the information required.