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

Family, friends of Mission murder victim hold protest rally

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Mission downs Abbotsford to open season

Roadrunners defeat Panthers 29-8 in 2018 home debut

Mission to celebrate culture during three-day event

Culture Days 2018 takes place Sept. 28-30

Vancouver Giants earn a weekend sweep against Everett

Langley-based hockey team plays its next game is at home on Friday, Sept. 28, against Seattle.

Abbotsford company among 500 fastest growing in Canada

Valley Carriers keeps spot on Growth 500 list, but drops from 398 last year to 408 this year

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Porsche impounded for going 138 km/hr in 90 zone during charity rally

West Vancouver Police said wet roads and heavy rain made it extra dangerous

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Phase 2 of $1.35B Royal Columbian upgrades won’t be a public-private partnership

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says it will be a design-build

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Man facing charges after allegedly climbing into police car, spraying fire extinguisher

Vancouver police say the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs

Most Read