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Environment Minister Mary Polak and Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett have issued an environmental assessment certificate to HD Mining International Ltd.’s Murray River Coal project, which is located 12 KM south of Tumbler Ridge.
The Murray River Coal project is an underground coal mine, with an estimated capital cost of $668-million and a 25 year operating life and will create 780 jobs during operations – according to the BC government.
The mine is also reported as being able to produce up to 4.8 million tonnes of clean coal per year.
The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office.
The ministers issued the certificate with legally-enforceable conditions – and came to the conclusion that the project will be constructed, operated and decommissioned in a way that ‘ensures that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur directly from the project.’
The Murray River Coal project will now require federal environmental assessment approval and various federal and provincial permits to proceed.
The certificate conditions were developed with input from First Nations, government agencies, communities and the public.
Key conditions for the project itself require HD Mining to:
- Hire an independent environmental monitor to determine whether HD Mining is complying with the conditions in the environmental assessment certificate;
- Develop a plan to address the risk and impacts of subsidence;
- Develop a suite of management plans for matters that include wildlife, fish and fish habitat, wetlands, air quality, noise, groundwater and surface water and impacts from invasive plants;
- Develop plans to support healthy communities and identify measures to mitigate economic and social effects;
- Continue to participate on the Murray River Aquatic Cumulative Effects Assessment Framework Steering Committee; and
- Develop a plan to share information between HD Mining and First Nations and to identify measures to avoid impacts on Treaty 8 rights.
HD Mining also decided to construct a production decline under the Murray River instead of constructing an overland conveyor, based on comments from First Nations and government agencies during the environmental assessment.
The decline will reportedly reduce impacts on wildlife.
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