Environment Minister Mary Polak and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone have issued an environmental assessment certificate to Rio Tinto Alcan for the Terminal A Extension project in Kitimat.
The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office. The ministers have issued the certificate with legally enforceable conditions that have given them the confidence to conclude that the project will be constructed and operated in a way that ensures that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur from the project. A record of the factors that the ministers considered in making their decision can be found in the Reasons for Ministers’ Decision at: http://tinyurl.com/qdnubhd
Twelve conditions are attached to the environmental assessment certificate. Design requirements are specified in the certified project description. Each of the conditions and the certified project description are legally-binding requirements that Rio Tinto Alcan must meet to be in compliance with the certificate.
The certificate conditions were developed following consultation and input from Haisla Nation, government agencies, communities and the public. Key conditions for the project require Rio Tinto Alcan to:
- avoid or mitigate impacts to fish and fish habitat;
- monitor marine water quality from dredging and take action if thresholds are reached;
- monitor marine mammals during pile driving and take action to prevent injury to marine mammals;
- manage and monitor the dredge disposal site, including adaptive management measures in the event that the effects of contaminants are not mitigated to the extent predicted;
- retain the services of an environmental monitor throughout the construction phase, with the authority to stop work if necessary to prevent or reduce adverse effects; and
- implement measures to protect marine mammals during construction.
In addition, Rio Tinto Alcan proposed a number of design changes during the environmental assessment, based on feedback received during the process, including:
- changes to the laydown area to avoid an existing wetland;
- selection of a tug dock option that reduces the overall dredge footprint and avoids higher-density eelgrass;
- selection of the dredge-disposal site at an existing landfill, avoiding impacts on wildlife habitat;
- selection of the same disposal at sea site as LNG Canada Development Inc., which avoids Aboriginal fishing and harvesting sites; and
- use of LNG Canada workforce accommodation facilities to reduce potential health effects on workers and allows access to on-site, camp health-care professionals.
The Terminal A Extension project will require various federal and provincial authorizations to proceed. The Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that certificate conditions are met throughout the life of the project.
The project is the extension of the existing Terminal A wharf by up to 250 metres to accommodate bulk carriers. It will replace existing facilities for the import and export of bulk materials.
In addition to the wharf extension, the project includes a barge ramp, tug dock and laydown area. The project will involve dredging over three years, with a dredge disposal site for contaminated dredged sediments and laydown soils and disposal at sea for other sediments. Construction is expected to take over three years, with the extension in operation for over 50 years.
Terminal A Extension is required because Rio Tinto Alcan has entered into an options agreement for its Terminal B facility with LNG Canada Development Inc. for LNG shipping.
British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office is a neutrally administered office that is required by law to undertake rigorous, thorough reviews of major projects in British Columbia. These reviews provide significant opportunities for Aboriginal groups, government agencies and the public to influence the outcome of environmental assessments by providing input on the potential for environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects from a proposed project.