Coal company leaves northwestern BC

Move comes after Tahltan ramp up protests over planned coal mine in Klappan Valley

REACTING to what it calls “disruptive and damaging protests,” Fortune Minerals Ltd., the company that wants to build a coal mine in the Klappan Valley against the wishes of local Tahltan First Nation, says it is leaving the area.

“Fortune will voluntarily cease its summer field program activities and withdraw from the project site for several months to allow the Tahltan and BC governments to continue their talks,” says a Sept. 23 press released.

The announcement came after an eventful few days that saw a group of Tahltan members and elders and others blockade access to the Fortune camp, demanding that the company leave.

Fortune set up a camp in early July to collect environmental and other information to be used in an application which, if granted, will lead to development of a coal mine.

Provincial mines minister Bill Bennett visited the protestors Sept. 21,

“They told him they were willing to be arrested if that is what it took,” said Tahltan Central Council president Annita McPhee in her own press release.

RCMP Constable Lesley Smith said that the police, who have had their own camp set up between the protestors and Fortune since mid August, allowed the protests to unfold without making arrests.

Fortune Minerals, based in London, Ont., said earlier this month that its work wouldn’t go beyond the end of September anyway, and that it plans to return next year to gather enough data to apply for an environmental review sometime late 2014 or the beginning of 2015.

Earlier this month a committee of senior government and Tahltan officials was formed to recommend ways of protecting all of or some of the Klappan Valley. Its recommendations are to be studied by the provincial cabinet early next year.

Fortune has made it clear it will pursue its coal mine plan and that any settlement with the government would be costly because it has already sunk millions of dollars into the project.

In yesterday’s release, company CEO Robin Goad said that “while the company has made the decision to give the time and space needed for discussions, there is still a full commitment on the part of both Fortune and its [South Korean] partner to move forward with the environmental assessment and the project”.

The province hired a mediator last week to work with Fortune and the Tahltan on an arrangement that would protect part of the Klappan while allowing the Arctos Anthracite Project to proceed, a scenario the Tahltan rejected because they want the entire area protected.

The Tahltan also criticized a news release announcing the mediator’s appointment, saying it was done without speaking to them first.

Bennett, while in the Klappan Sept. 21, apologized for sending out the news release earlier than first planned.

 

Just Posted

City of Terrace welcomes new economic development manager

Deklan Corstanje makes the switch to city hall from RDKS

Climate change, economy and reconciliation take centre stage at Oct. 15 All-Candidates Forum

Six of the eight candidates were in attendance at the Smithers event

RDKS issues planned Boil Water Notice for Thornhill area

Due to roundabout construction, residents and businesses are advised to boil water before consuming

Skeena Voices | A legend off the ice

Joe Pelletier’s love for hockey led him to become a sports writer

Historic downtown tree turned into a work of art

Local artist carves a logger into wooden stump

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Most Read