Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett today announced an agreement to acquire 61 coal licences in the Klappan so that discussions on a shared vision for responsible management of the area can move forward.
Part of a region known as the Sacred Headwaters, the Klappan is a special area, located in northwest British Columbia, with significant cultural importance to the Tahltan Nation as well as some significant anthracite coal deposits. Fortune Minerals and POSCO Canada had held these assets since 2002 with the intent to further develop a mine but their development schedule was moving more quickly than discussions with the Tahltan Nation, preventing progress from being made on a shared vision for the entire area.
“Developing a shared vision for responsible management of the Klappan is critically important to the Tahltan Nation, the Province and to industry,” said Bennett. “This acquisition provides certainty and solves a timing problem that was preventing progress on these discussions.”
The acquisition of the licences was the fairest way to preserve their potential future value while providing the time and certainty necessary for discussions between the Tahltan and the Province to move forward. British Columbia Railway Company, which has the ability to acquire coal mines and land in connection with them under the BC Railway Act, is using its cash reserves to acquire the licences as agent of the Province, allowing the transaction to take place with no impact to the government’s current fiscal plan.
The purchase agreement allows the assets to be acquired for $18.308 million while providing a 10-year option, up to 2025, for Fortune Minerals and POSCO Canada to re-purchase the licences at the original price after the Province and the Tahltan Nation have developed a shared vision for the Klappan.
“This is a fair solution that recognizes the investment made by the companies secures the potential value of these assets for the future and respects the position of the Tahltan Nation," said Bennett. "I want to recognize the President of the Tahltan Central Council Chad Day for his leadership and dedication in continuing to advance the opportunity to secure a shared vision for the Klappan.”
A copy of the agreement is available online: http://goo.gl/Py2CI4
The location of the Klappan permit deferral area and the 61 coal licences acquired from Fortune Minerals and POSCO Canada under the agreement are identified in the maps below.
Media Relations Officer
Minister of Energy and Mines