It is beginning to look like Tumbler Ridge is on its way to becoming a mining community again. Tumbler Ridge residents were given the opportunity to attend an Open House held by NEMI (Northern Energy and Mining Inc.). This mine development company was in town Wednesday night to make a presentation to the over 100 people in attendance. The presentation dealt with the development of its Trend coal property, located 25 km south of Tumbler Ridge (adjacent to Quintette Mine).
Angela Waterman, who is the Coordinator of Environmental, Regulatory and Marketing for NEMI, gave a power point presentation focusing on the exploration, and development of coal assets in this area, and the environmental impacts this development could have.
Waterman explained that the international market coal demand has increased substantially within the last year. The Trend property is located near existing infrastructure (town, rail, port, roads, power), which has proven capable of supporting the projected production. NEMI hopes to move this project through feasibility and regulatory approvals and begin mine development in 2005 and production in 2006. ?One of the things we need? said Peter Sheehan (Mining Operations), ?is the replacement of the rail line.? Mayor Clay Iles was quick to say that this is something that the Municipal Government is currently working on.
Following the presentation by NEMI, Bob Hart who is with the Environmental Assessment Office, gave an informative presentation discussing the purpose and steps involved in the Environmental Assessment, which NEMI hopes will produce an Environmental Assessment certificate.
Many of the audience had questions for the NEMI representatives ranging from concerns regarding the paleontology in the area, to whether the company is planning on hiring locally. ?I?ve lived and worked for the better part of thirty years in small mining communities,? commented Sheehan, ?and have found that co-operation and accommodation is a much better route to take then confrontation. NEMI wants community support and will work to maintain that support.?
Ray Proulx, Economic Development Officer stated, ?This particular development is yet another sign that the Northeast coal fields will contribute once again to our local prosperity in the form of employment and tax dollars. Saying that however, we must recognize that the NEMI mine will forever alter one of our most precious recreational areas and we must work closely with the developer to implement initiatives that will mitigate any losses we are expected to incur.
The District views this mine as one contributing component of our local economy, and by no means are there any intentions to reign in our diversification efforts. That lesson has been learned already and we are determined never to travel that road again.?
The company has held coal property in British Columbia since 1996. Northern Energy now holds the Trend, Omega and Saxon properties. The mine, which is expected to produce 1.5 to 2 million tones per year, will have a life expectancy of 10-15 years and create 200 direct mine operating jobs, plus indirect jobs in the rail, port and mine service industries.
NEMI Northern Energy & Mining Inc. (Northern Energy), is a publicly traded company which is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (Symbol: NNE.A).