Dehua gone, but not for good
Trent Ernst, Editor
On Nov. 24 Dehua stopped work on their Wapiti River Project, as of November 25, saying that “the Wapiti Project will not restart until investor funds can be secured.”
On November 26, they clarified their earlier statement, saying in a press release that “all efforts are being made to bring the Wapiti River Project back into operation. Dehua is currently undertaking intensive communications with its investors to explain the nature of the ongoing litigation and other concerns.”
In a letter to its contractors, Dehua says the decision “has been forced upon [us] following a deluge of calls from investors in Dehua’s mining operations in Canada. Investors have expressed reluctance to proceed with funding in the aftermath of the challenge to the Labour Market Opinions issued to HD Mining International Ltd. for the Murray River Project.”
The shutdown affects about 120 people, including Dehua employees and contractors.
Dehua is a minority shareholder of HD Mining, though their decision to stop exploration at the Wapiti should have no affect on its participation with the Murray River Coal mine. Majority investor Huiyong Holdings’ executive member and Chairman of the HD Mining Board Penngui Yan says the company is going ahead this Murray River Project. He says the company has just invested $15-million in new housing, and asks if this is the action of a company that is not committed.
Dehua is currently in the exploration stage at the Wapiti mine. They say that drilling holes currently in process will keep drilling until they are finished. “After these holes are finished, only safety and environmental staff will stay on site.” As well, no new hole locations will be issued to contractors, though if contractors are willing to move their drill(s) away from the project, “Dehua will pay for this demobilization.”
Early last week, a large portion of Dehua’s work force left Tumbler Ridge. This, says one Dehua official, is hard on the workers. In China, there is a strong connection between a worker and the project, said the official. Having to leave the Wapiti, especially before the work was finished, is almost viewed as a personal failure.
Dehua says that it has “high expectations that business at Wapiti River will be back on track” as a result of its efforts.