Cardero Resource Moving Coal by Barge

Lynsey Kitching
A main focus of the Cardero Resource Corporation was how they were going to actually move their coal. The property will be developing 40 km west of Hudson’s Hope. Near the southern shore of  Williston Lake, which is a big advantage for the project. 
Although coal was first discovered there in the early twentieth century, the first significant exploration was done in the early 70s. Coincidentally, back then, all of the heavy equipment was brought in by barge and landing sites are still evident on the reservoir. Angus Chris, representative for Cardero said, “There has been an increase in resource base from the 100 million tonnes defined in 1975, to the now 700 million tonnes and counting.” 
The products extracted will be hard-coking coal and a semi—soft or PCI product. This gives the company the ability to blend products, and have a consistent product profile. These types of coal will be extracted using three mining methods: Surface, Highwall and Contour mining. a Also included in this proposal is Room and Pillar mining, a form of underground mining. Chris said, “Surface mining will comprise about 55 percent of reserve base, and underground mining will be about 42 percent.”
The coal, after being mined will be loaded onto a barge containing about 15,000–17,000 tonnes of material and will travel 174 km to Mackenzie. The options to transport the coal were between trucking or barging the coal from the site. Chris said, “At first it didn’t seem practical to take coal from the Carbon Creek and barge it 173 km to Mackenzie, or economically feasible,” he continued, “However with a truck, it would be a 64 km road haul, as well as  creating a tunnel through the mountain range, anywhere from one to four km in length. As far as capital is concerned, that just didn’t make sense.”
The company decided to go by water. A question that arose around barging is how well it can be done through the winter months. Chris said, “Yes it can be done year round. The max ice thickness is 36 inches on Carbon Creek. At first we will be barging about once a week, but in full production, we will be barging every one to one and a half days. We will be able to maintain an open channel throughout the year. The barge we are going to build will have ice-breaking capabilities.”    
 Chris continued, “Once we started getting into the barging option and the practicality of it, we found that it’s very standard technology worldwide. Coal will be put onto self discharging barges, and travel to Mackenzie, where it will be stockpiled or directly loaded onto CN trains to Prince George.”
The project will generate anywhere between 850–900 direct jobs at the mine site,  and take about six years to get to full production. Formal consultations with First Nations and communities will commence very shortly. Chris said, “There will be plenty of opportunity for local recruitment. We will be developing the skills, and training people in that period.”