New drilling in the shadow of Quintette

A Chinese-Canadian mining company is carrying out exploration work on tenures adjacent to the dormant Quintette mine.

Vancouver-based Canadian Dehua International Mines Group is drilling holes under an exploration program to run through the winter, said administrative manager Helvin Li. The company has nearly 50 holes approved for drilling, but is focusing on eight holes in particular, he said.

The work has no bearing on any possible re-opening of the Quintette operation, said a spokesperson for Teck Corporation, which purchased the operation after it was shut down in 2000. Teck carried out pre-feasibility studies last year to assess development options, but currently have no plans to implement any development plan.

"We do not have any plans to reopen Quintette at this time, and we are not conducting any exploration activity," wrote Teck communications advisor Dario Alvarez in an email to the Tumbler Ridge News. "We are aware that Dehua and Unicorn Group purchased the tenure in the area of our plant, but we have no knowledge of their exploration activities."

Unicorn International Mines Group, another junior mining company with Chinese connections, presented at October's Northeast B.C. Community Coal Forum. The company outlined plans to explore at their South Hassler coal project located 60 kilometres southwest of Chetwynd. Their website indicates a plan to drill 10 holes within their 6,600 hectare tenure and to explore an inferred coal resource of 300 million tonnes.

Dehua's website appears to focus on explaining B.C. and its coal resources to those unfamiliar with the province. The company also emphasizes its role as a bridge between China and Canada.

"Canadian Dehua International, with its Chinese background, enjoys advantages in capital, product quality, company credit, sales channels, resources, and market and business experience," reads the website, at www.dehua.ca.

Dehua is also proposing to develop Gething Coal Project, located approximately 25 kilometres west of Hudson's Hope. The mine would produce 2 million tons of clean metallurgical coal per year, and would have an estimated 400 employees.

Teck's last public appearance in Tumbler Ridge took place in July, when a community and governmental affairs manager presented the doors from the office at the Quintette mine to council. The doors, noted for their impressive size and quality, are now being stored at a district storage yard.