Coal mine licences held by two companies in the Klappan region have been bought by the B.C. government in what it hopes is a temporary measure for planning purposes.

B.C. buys out coal licences in Tahltan territory

Fortune Minerals and POSCO Canada are being paid $18.3 million for anthracite coal rights, with a 10-year option to buy them back

The B.C. government is paying $18.3 million to buy out 61 coal mining licences in the Klappan region of northwestern B.C., to work with the Tahltan Nation on a management plan.

The government is calling the move a “permit deferral,” including a 10-year option for Fortune Minerals and Korea-based POSCO Canada to buy back the permits at the same price once an agreement on mining development is reached with the Tahltan.

Known internationally as the Sacred Headwaters, where the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers arise, the region has been a focus of mining protest before. In 2012 the province bought back coalbed gas leases awarded to Shell Canada in 2004.

The anthracite coal mining licences have been purchased by BC Rail, which decades ago attempted to extend track to Dease Lake for mining development. The railway still has legislative authority to acquire coal mines and associated lands, and cash reserves to buy the Klappan licences.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the Tahltan, industry and the province all have an interest in agreeing on a development plan for the area, about midway between Stewart and Dease Lake.

Bennett said the companies remain interested in developing a large metallurgical coal mine on the property, and without the purchase announced Monday, the province could have ended up in court.

Northwest B.C. has multiple metal and coal mines on the drawing board, and the recent completion of a power line along Highway 37 has sparked development interest.

B.C. signed a shared decision-making agreement with the Tahltan Central Council in 2013, when the Tahltan administration was dealing with about 250 exploration applications a year over a territory about half the size of Washington state.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

Anger growing among B.C. salmon anglers shut out of public fishery

Fisheries minister stands by “very difficult” decisions to limit openings

Potential COVID-19 exposure at Northern B.C. wedding, headstone raising

Several positive cases identified in Fort St James

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Most Read