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.
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).
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 residents 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.