Peter Nix pours a bag of coal onto a blanket at the B.C. legislature Tuesday

Coal exports boom, climate worries bloom

With coal exports booming and more mines opening in northeastern B.C., federal and provincial officials are looking for ways to fast-track an expansion of Prince Rupert port facilities to keep up.

Demand for metallurgical coal and other minerals is rising globally, and what capacity was left at Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert has been taken up by a contract announced last week with U.S. producer Arch Coal for shipments sent by rail from Wyoming.

Speaking to reporters from a mining conference in Vancouver Tuesday, B.C. Minister of State for Mines Randy Hawes said even without the U.S. coal shipments, the remaining capacity at Ridley wouldn’t be enough to keep up with demand that has now emerged.

Mines in the Tumbler Ridge area have reopened, new ones have been developed and Teck Resources is studying whether to reopen the Quintette coal mine that closed in 2000.

Ridley Terminals has indicated it could accelerate an expansion planned for 2015 to 2012, and federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl is looking at ways to finance it, Hawes said.

The federally-owned Ridley port has been “swamped with demand” as commodity producers discover it is the shortest ocean route to Asia-Pacific markets, he said, and government marketing of the Pacific Gateway project has worked better than expected.

As well as coal, Ridley is sending shipments of wood pellets and logs harvested by Coast Tsimshian communities in northwestern B.C.

As politicians and mining executives celebrated a major turnaround in coal and metal mining in B.C. this year, protesters gathered at the B.C. legislature to call for all coal exports to be halted by 2015.

British Columbians for Climate Action brought a letter to B.C. cabinet ministers, pointing out the hypocrisy of promoting B.C.’s modest carbon tax on fossil fuels while promoting the export of 35 million tonnes of coal in 2010.

“When burned, this coal more than doubles the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that British Columbia acknowledges in its official domestic inventory,” the group states.

Just Posted

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

Hazelton RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assault

A trial date for Const. Eric Unrau will be set on Apr. 23

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Elizabeth May’s B.C. wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Verdict scheduled in Giesbrecht murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court justice will render his decision May 24

Most Read