Western Canadian Coal officials along with representatives from the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office were on hand Wednesday night to pass along information updates surrounding the Wolverine Coal Project.
Although the crowd was smaller for this Open House than the one in March, the general feeling was very positive. Long time resident of Tumbler Ridge, Harry Prosser said, ?I was at the first meeting and there seems to be a more positive attitude among the people here tonight, they believe that this mine is going to be built.?
Western Canadian Coal Corp. is in the final stages of environmental and mine permits for the Burnt River and Wolverine coal mines. Bob Hart, of the BC Environmental Assessment Office, explained the environmental assessment review process, which needs to take place before this project can proceed. The review lasts a maximum of 180 days. It began May 21 and will be completed on or before November 16. The review started with a public comment period, which began May 21 and lasts for 75 days. Government agencies, First Nations and the public are given the opportunity to review and comment on the application. When this is complete Western Canadian Coal will be given the opportunity to address any issues identified by these groups. Next, the findings are documented and this report is referred to three ministers for decision. The Minister?s Decision can take up to 45 days. If and when this is approved Western Canadian Coal can obtain necessary permits.
?We are delighted to see the community looking forward to the mine opening and the possibility that it will open early.? Says Kathy Pomeroy, Vice President Environmental and Regulatory for Western Canadian Coal.
Western is still targeting November 2004 as the start date for construction. It is currently expected that there will be up to of 210 jobs during construction and approximately 200 during operations. There will also be related jobs in the rail and port industries.
?I have only been with the company a couple of months and I?m even more excited about this project now than when I started,? says Bill Burton Chief Operating Officer of Western Canadian Coal.