Proposed Horizon Mine taken off the table

Trent Ernst, Editor

On June 3, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) terminated the Environmental Assessment of the proposed Horizon Coal Mine.

The proposed Anglo American mine would have been located 25 km southwest of Tumbler Ridge.

While the application terms or reference for the mine were approved in February of 2007, the EAO had not received an application for an Environmental Assessment (EA) Certificate from Peace River Coal.

The proposed mine would have produced up to 1.6 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year, and would have featured both open pit and underground elements.

However, in February, the EAO began a process of reducing the “administrative burden” of inactive EAs.

According to a letter signed by Kevin Jardine, Executive Director for the EAO, they sent a letter to Peace River Coal advising them of the EAO’s intention to terminate the EA for Horizon Coal. “On March 11, the Proponent responded that it has no objections to termination of the EA,” writes Jardine.

It was one of a handful of projects that were terminated earlier this month, and one of 35 projects that have been contacted by the EAO after at least six months dormancy.

Of those, two proponents had their environmental assessments terminated, 14 voluntarily withdrew projects and seven said they planned to continue.

Mining projects have experienced a collapse of commodity markets that has starved the industry of capital and caused a half-dozen mine closures in B.C. over the past two years.

And Anglo has refocused their business away from met coal production to focus on diamonds and platinum. The company plans on selling their BC assets at some time in the future, when they are able to recoup their costs for the mine.

Other projects that have been recently canceled include two wind farm proposals by the Netherlands firm Izzy Projects. The company did not respond to the Environmental Assessment Office’s correspondence by the deadline it had set so the agency withdrew the projects from the process.

Upper Pitt River IPP, which was hoping to start a hydro project in the Vancouver area, also didn’t respond to the EAO by the May 16 deadline.