The story of Tumbler Ridge is well documented, but perhaps less well known was the decision by BC Rail to take out the track between the Bullmoose Loadout and the Quintette spur in 2003. The ten miles of track was rebuilt, with construction completed in December 2005. It took a crew of approximately 20 men six months to rebuild that section, and the cost came in at around $8 million, a major investment for Peace River Coal.
The company has just purchased 105 aluminum rail cars, the first investment in rail cars in 20 years. The cars are 12 percent larger than traditional cars which held 4,000 cubic feet. The new cars have a capacity of 4520 cubic feet. They are made in Danville, Ill. and cost $85,000 each.
The trucks haul coal from the Trend Coal Processing Plant, 23 kilometers away and carry only 30 tonnes per load in order to meet road conditions. The company is building a back road to the load out to allow the trucks to carry their maximum load capacity of 60 tonnes. The rail cars are on a five day cycle; two days to the Prince Rupert Port, two days back and one day loading/unloading. The coal is loaded here by 988 front end loaders and the cars carry 110 tonnes of coal to the port. The coal is sprayed with a latex water to keep the dust down while they are in transit.
The company is in the process of opening two more mines Roman Mountain and Horizon. They are in the permitting stages right now but expect to come on-stream sometime in 2008. Production at present is roughly .8 million tonnes, increasing to 1.6 million tonnes by October 2007. Peace River Coal?s objective is to reach 5 million tons by the end of 2010.
Peace River Coal Inc. is a partnership of Anglo American (60%), NEMI (20%) and Hillsborough Resources (20%). 240 people are employed at Peace River Coal in the mining operation, and 40 people in the exploration component.
This is a major investment by the company and shows stability and a long term commitment to Tumbler Ridge and the region.