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Telkwa Coal Mine, British Columbia, Canada


Description:

Telkwa Mine is a metallurgical coal mine being proposed by Allegiance Coal Ltd, 10 kilometres southwest of the town of Telkwa, near Smithers, BC. Metallurgical coal is used in the production of steel. The coal is to be exported to South Korea and Japan. The residents of the Bulkley-Nechako Valley are resisting the project due to concerns about impacts to rivers, water, fish, wildlife, air and their quality of life. It is located near the confluence of the Telkwa and Bulkley Rivers with their important runs of salmon and steelhead. It also lies "wholly or mostly within the recently established Telkwa Mountains Caribou Wildlife Habitat Area" (Cody, 2018).

There are also concerns about carbon emissions from the project contributing to global climate change. Allegiance Coal Ltd’s pre-feasibility study found there is 42.5 million tonnes of saleable coal in the project area (Grace-Dacosta, 2018). If all that coal is pulled out of the ground and used to create steel, this would lead to approximately 140 Mt CO2 tonnes of green house gases eventually being emitted. This is roughly equal to about a quarter of the total carbon emissions produced in Canada in one year[1].

The proposed mine is in part on Wet’suwet’en territory.

According to the Telkwa Coal Limited Director Mark Gray, the proposed Telkwa Coal Mine would potentially create 40 direct jobs in the mining sector and other indirect jobs. It is said the Tenas area will create 40 years worth of coal resources (Chartrand, T., 2018).

“The prefeasibility study suggests an annual production of 240,000 tonnes with a 40 year mine life and a 1,000 ha footprint” (Bakker, M., 2018).

 

Timeline

1901: Coal was first discovered in Telkwa at Goathorn Creek, about eight kilometres south of the village (Grace-Dacosta, M., 2018).

1918: First official coal production in this region began (Grace-Dacosta, M., 2018).

1918-2016: Various mining projects, by various companies come and go.

1982: the first modern proposal to re-open the Telkwa coal mining area was raised (Cody, 2018)

September 2016: Allegiance Coal of Australia acquires all shares of Telkwa Coal Ltd which is owned by Mark Gray, resident of Sydney Australia, and Natasa Mining, a private resource investment company incorporated in the Cayman Islands (Friends of Morice Bulkley, 2017).

2017: Allegiance begins discussion with the Office of Wet’suwet’en. Also commences discussions with key officials in Ministryof Energy and Mines, including the Deputy Minister. Appoints consultants for pre-feasibility study, due June 30th.Commences selection of environmental consultants for baseline programs (Friends of Morice Bulkley, 2017).

2017: What Matters In Our Valley (WMIOV) was founded by a group of Telkwa and other Bulkley Valley reside​nts who share a deep commitment to the conservation of our rivers, water, fish, wildlife, air and the quality of life in our exceptional area. Their current goals are: to inform the public about the implications to our valley of the proposed Telkwa coal mine; and to protect the interests of the  environment, the economy, and the social fabric of the community of Telkwa and the Bulkley Valley.

April, 2018: Managing director of Telkwa Coal Ltd. Mark Gray, moves from Sydney, Australia to the Bulkley Valley (Gareau, C., 2018a).

May, 2018: Managing Director of Telkwa Coal Limited Mark Gray met with Smithers Town Council to communication with local government regarding the proposed coal mine.

June, 2018: Telkwa Coal hosts an open house for a new coal mine. Open house was well attended by residents (Bakker, M., 2018).

November, 2018: Telkwa project plan has grown and is now planned to be above the threshold for an environmental review under Section 10 of the Environmental Assessment (EA) Act (Gareau, C., 2018 b).

March, 2019: Meeting planned by BC Environmental Office to hear from community members.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Telkwa Coal Mine, British Columbia, Canada
Country:Canada
State or province:British Columbia
Location of conflict:Telkwa, British Columbia
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Telkwa Mine is a metallurgical coal mine being proposed by Australian -owned Allegiance Coal Ltd, 10 kilometres southwest of town of Telkwa, near Smithers, BC. Metallurgical coal is used in the production of steel. Allegiance Coal Ltd’s pre-feasibility study found there is 42.5 million tonnes of saleable coal in the project area (Grace-Dacosta, 2018). The coal is to be exported to South Korea and Japan. The Telkwa Project comprises three open pit areas all within close proximity of each other: Tenas, Goathorn, and Telkwa North (Allegiance, 2018). “The prefeasibility study suggests an annual production of 240,000 tonnes with a 40 year mine life and a 1,000 ha footprint” (Bakker, M., 2018).

The project is currently undergoing an environmental assessment.

Project area:1,000 ha
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:37,896 (population of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) regional district)
Start of the conflict:2016
Company names or state enterprises:Allegiance Coal Ltd from Australia - Allegiance Coal Ltd owns Telkwa Coal Ltd who are the proponents of this mine.
Itochu from Japan - Itochu has agreed to invest $6.6 million Canadian into the Telkwa Met Coal Joint Venture by way of a subscription for shares in Telkwa Coal Limited up to an initial 20 percent of the shares in Telkwa Coal
Telkwa Coal Limited from Australia - a wholly owned subsidiary of Allegiance
Relevant government actors:BC Provincial Government
Ministry of Energy and Mines
Ministry of Environment
BC Environmental Office
Office of Wet'suwet'en
Mayor of Telkwa
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:What Matters in Our Valley
https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/
Friends of the Morice-Bulkley
http://friendsofmoricebulkley.ca/telkwacoal

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Office of the Wet'suwet'en
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession

Outcome

Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:This conflict is in the early stages. Outcome still not known.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(What Matters in Our Valley, n.d.) Local Organization that is mobilizing to oppose the Telkwa Mine
https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/

(Friends of Morice Bulkley, 2017) Chronology of Telkwa Coal Project from 1918 to present.
http://friendsofmoricebulkley.ca/images/uploads/article_uploads/CHRONOLOGY_OF_TELKWA_COAL_PROJECT.pdf

(Chartrand, T., 2018) Telkwa Coal Limited meets with Smithers Town Council. MyBulkleyLakesnow
https://www.mybulkleylakesnow.com/25045/telkwa-coal-limited-meets-with-smithers-town-council/

(Bakker, M., 2018) Telkwa Coal holds open house. BC Local News
https://www.bclocalnews.com/news/telkwa-coal-holds-open-house/

(Gareau, C., 2018 b) Telkwa Coal at EA threshold. The Interior News
https://www.interior-news.com/news/telkwa-coal-at-ea-threshold/

(Grace-Dacosta, M., 2018) Telkwa’s long history with coal. The Interior News
https://www.interior-news.com/news/telkwas-long-history-with-coal/

(Gareau, C., 2018a) Telkwa Coal founder is moving to town. The Interior News
https://www.interior-news.com/news/telkwa-coal-founder-is-moving-to-town/

(Cody, 2018) Letter to Minister of the Environment from Nancy Cody and What Matters in our Valley
https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/e1df6fea-17bd-46f8-9988-664f1428b793/downloads/1ciqecq9p_121878.pdf

(Allegiance, 2018) 2018 Annual Report
http://www.allegiancecoal.com.au/irm/PDF/1441_0/2018AnnualReport

[1] How we came up with this estimate: The mass ratio of carbon dioxide to carbon (assuming full combustion) is 44/12 or 3.67. Metallurgical coals are around 90% carbon so a rough approximation is that 42.5 Mt coal becomes 140 Mt CO2. Keep in mind that the full calculation is more complicated and process dependent - coal is converted to coke in a secondary process, incomplete combustion means you get some carbon monoxide, and there are associated emissions of other GHGs particularly nitrogen oxides with higher warming potential than CO2. This is only a 'first order' estimate that ignores associated induced emissions in all steps of the project supply chain. This figure is based on direct combustion.

Other documents

Telkwa Area sourced from: https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/photos
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Telkwa_region.jpg

Telkwa MIne Site Map Sourced from: https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/photos
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Telkwa_Mine_site_map.jpg

Telkwa Coal Open House https://www.interior-news.com/news/telkwa-coal-holds-open-house/
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/TelkwaCoalOpenHouse.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Jen Gobby and Charlotte Euverman (Wet'suwet'en)
Last update13/03/2019

Images

 

Telkwa Area

sourced from: https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/photos

Telkwa MIne Site Map

Sourced from: https://whatmattersinourvalley.com/photos

Telkwa Coal Open House

https://www.interior-news.com/news/telkwa-coal-holds-open-house/