On August 2nd, a group of 15 people gathered at the Community Centre for an Open House hosted by Western Canadian Coal Corporation (WCCC). Information was released regarding the expansion of the Perry Creek pit; an additional 36% as a result of the permit amendment application which was submitted in June of this year. Officials of WCCC also provided a brief update of other projects expected in the area.
Gary Gould, Manager of Technical Services for WCCC, gave a power point presentation highlighting a review of the expansion. Gould said that the revised mine plans will increase coal recovered from the Perry Creek Pit to 22.3 million tonnes from 10.9 million tonnes. This will extend the Perry Creek pit life from six years to ten and will increase clean coal production at the Wolverine Plant by 25% from 2.4 million tonnes per year to 3 million. The increase in production is expected near the end of 2008.
Other projects that WCCC plans to extend on the Wolverine property are the EB Pit located on Mt. Speiker, and the Hermann pit located south of the Wolverine River adjacent to the Quintette property. Both projects will use highway coal haul trucks to move the coal to the Wolverine plant site for processing.
The Hermann Pit is in the environmental assessment application process. The EB Pit will have its earliest environmental assessment application for the first quarter of 2008 and construction will start after that process has gone through.
WCC future plans include their Burnt River and Willow Creek Mine properties.
Kathleen Pomeroy, Vice President Environmental/Regulatory for WCC, gave a brief run through of the impact that the community and the environment can expect from these projects. She said that there will be no significant changes in the environment since the projects will be monitored. She said that most areas will be reforested and there will be no significant increases in emission rates or any negative effects to the water quality.
Pomeroy concluded by informing residents that the community can expect 350 jobs secured for at least 10 years with the extension of the Perry Creek pit for an additional four years from six. This will increase employment for the Perry Creek pit by 10%. Employment will also increase as a result of the EB and Hermann pits. The two projects will generate approximately 160 jobs.