Conuma Coal Resources Ltd., the new owners of the Brule coal mine in British Columbia’s Peace Region, are restarting the mine immediately, Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett announced today.
“Having Brule Mine back in production will create approximately 170 good-paying jobs and generate significant economic benefits for nearby communities,” said Bennett. “I know this is welcome news for families in the region, particularly those in Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge who were most impacted when the mine went into care and maintenance two years ago.”
The Brule Mine, located approximately 35 kilometres south of Chetwynd, was recently purchased from Walter Canada, along with the nearby Wolverine and Willow Creek coal mines, by Conuma Coal Resources Ltd. (Conuma Coal), a subsidiary of West Virginia-based mining company ERP Compliant Fuels.
“The restart of the Brule Mine will have a large positive impact on our local economy,” said Mike Bernier, MLA Peace River-South. “The shutdown two years ago was devastating to our local economy and residents. B.C. has the strongest economy in Canada and I’m happy to see my constituents benefiting from that strength through the jobs that accompany this restart.”
Workers have already started the necessary work to transition the mine from care and maintenance back to production. Conuma Coal plans to have the mine fully-staffed and operating at full-production levels by December 2016. The company estimates it will produce two million tons of metallurgical coal annually from the Brule Mine.
“The restart of operations at Brule Mine is welcome news for the Peace Region. The closure was very challenging for the workers and their families. Reopening the mine presents opportunities for work close to home for many of those affected. Activity at the mine will continue to drive B.C.’s economy forward, creating jobs and new opportunities.” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “I welcome Brule Mine back to production and I want to thank Conuma Coal Resources for recognizing the value of the Peace Region’s skilled and educated workforce, as well as its natural resources.”
To keep British Columbia's economy diverse, strong and growing, since September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan has been building on the strengths of the province’s most-competitive sectors utilizing B.C.’s educated and skilled workforce.
“Conuma Coal Resources Limited is very excited to partner with the northeast B.C. community in the further development of the former WalterCanada Property,” said president of Conuma Coal Resources Mark A. Bartkoski. “The reserves have proven to yield a very strong and highly sought-after metallurgical quality coal. The co-operation between the previous owners, the local communities, numerous First Nations Groups, the ministry and Conuma was unprecedented and will quickly result in blessing numerous families with employment opportunities.”
As part of the change in ownership of the mine, there are a number of permits that must be switched from Walter Canada to Conuma Coal. The Province is consulting with potentially affected First Nations on the transfer of permits between the two companies. Until this transition period is complete, Conuma Coal will operate the mine under a contract mining agreement with Walter Energy.
Staff with the Ministry of Energy and Mines are also working with Conuma Coal on its proposal to restart production at the Wolverine Mine in 2017. The mine is located approximately 15 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge. Timing for the restart of the Wolverine Mine is dependent upon Conuma Coal’s ability to complete the necessary work to satisfy all its permit requirements.