HD Mines still on track to open in 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor
The first working group for HD Mining’s Murray River Project’s Environmental Application will be meeting this week to help the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) establish the scope, procedures and methods for conducting the Environmental Assessment, including the Application Information Requirements. 
This puts HD Mining one step closer to entering the formal Environmental Assessment Process, which, if successful, will result in an Environmental Assessment Certificate, one of the key milestones in their plan to open a new underground mine. 
The company is in the pre-application stage of the Environmental Assessment. According to Jody Shimkus, Vice President of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for HD Mining, she plans on moving heaven and earth to have their submission ready before the end of next year. “We’ve set very ambitious timelines,” says Shimkus. “We want to deliver the application in 2013. After that we’re into formal legislated time frames.”
Right now, says Shimkus, there are no legislated time frames for getting the environmental assessment ready. 
While Shimkus is working on the details for the environmental assessment, HD is preparing for bulk samples. HD has spent the summer getting ready. Shimkus says they have two sediment ponds and a waste rock dump in place, and might be ready to start bulk samples before it snows. 
If that happens, says Shimkus, the company may start to bring over some of the temporary foreign workers. The company still hasn’t announced how it is planning on housing up to 200 temporary foreign workers. There are rumours they have purchased most, if not all the new duplexes being constructed by Triland International.
If the workers do come, Shimkus says the company won’t need anywhere near that many workers for the bulk sample program. 
While the working group will be meeting next week, it will be a little while longer before the public gets to have its say. “The next critical document is a Section 11 Order,” says Shimkus. It lays out the public and first nation consultation framework.” With the aggressive time frame for getting their application in for the EA process, Shimkus is hoping those meetings will come sooner rather than later, but says she has to wait until after the working group meets before she is able to set the time frame for those meetings. “I know we are looking at community meetings in TR and Chetwynd,” says Shimkus. “We may have one in Fort St. John as well. The first meeting will be more of an open house.”
Concurrent with the public meetings, HD Mining will be taking public comments on the EAO website.