BC EAO extends Murray River coal project review; feds seek more information

Plans for the Murray River Coal Project near Tumbler Ridge. Photo by HD Mining

BC’s Environmental Assessment Office has extended its review of the Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge.

The 48-day extension was issued June 30, allowing for “additional time to incorporate the findings of the review in the EAO Assessment Report,” according to a letter from project assessment manager Michael Peterson to HD Mining International Chairman Penggui Yan.

“This documentation will inform the Ministers’ decision on the proposed (project),” the letter goes on to read.

The provincial review period is now set to end August 18.

The EAO review of the project began Dec. 3, 2014, with the 180-day review period originally set to end on June 1.

On May 15, the EAO granted a request by HD to extend the review by 30 days, to July 1, to “conduct the collection and analysis of additional samples to support the company’s geochemical analysis,” according to a spokesperson with the Ministry of Environment.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency also issued a request to HD Mining June 29, seeking more information regarding the project’s environmental impact statement.

If approved, the underground mine project would be located about 12 kilometres southwest of Tumbler Ridge and produce six million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year for an estimated 31 years.

The project has been at the centre of controversy over its plans to hire foreign workers for the project.