BC attracts coal miners

BRITISH Columbia ministers have said aggressive measures to revitalise its mining industry had driven renewed coal exploration and production across the Canadian province.
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Pine Valley coal being crushed at coal load out area adjacent to BC Rail main line

Andrea Hayward

At the 45th Canadian Conference on Coal in Kananaskis, Alta BC mining minister Pat Bell said the government had been working hard to develop a policy and regulatory environment to make BC an attractive jurisdiction for a thriving coal industry and it had started to pay off.

Western Canadian Coal received a mining permit recently, with a view to starting up mining in the Canadian fall, complimenting operations nearby at Willow Creek.

Another proposed coal mine at the Wolverine property near Tumbler Ridge would create 220 construction jobs and exploration was growing, with nearly 100,000 hectares in new coal licences applied for in the last year.

Mines and energy minister Richard Neufeld said the revitalisation of the coal industry was well underway and the government's efforts to streamline regulatory requirements, reduce taxes and improve geoscience had attracted the coal industry to the province.

After a year of consultation with the mining sector, the province is finalising a mining plan outlining BC's long term vision and plans for mining, to be released later this year.

Close to 40% of coal in Canada is produced in BC.