COAL VALLEY RE-OPENING FAQS
- When will the Coal Valley mine resume operations and how long will it take to get fully up and running?
We plan to be back in production in the second half of September this year and gradually ramp up to full, steady-state operations, in Q1 2022.
- How many jobs will be restored at the mine and in the surrounding community, and how soon?
We expect that when operations reach full, steady-state production early next year, we will employ close to 300 highly paid workers, up from just 23 during the COVID restrictions and care and maintenance activities.
At least 80% of those employed at the re-opened mine are expected to be from the community around Edson, and most will be former employees at the mine.
Past information and data suggest that re-opening the mine will lead to another 750 or more indirect jobs in the local community based on our typical $60 million annual spend for goods and services. This will have a positive ripple effect on the local community caused by new consumer spending by workers re-employed at the mine.
- What other positive economic benefits will the re-opening generate for the local community, Yellowhead County and the Province of Alberta as a whole?
The re-opening will generate tens of millions of dollars of positive economic impact in an area that has been hard-hit by COVID, including approximately:
- $30 million a year in direct wages and an additional $12 million in benefits.
- $3.0 million a year in taxes and royalties across local and provincial governments.
- $60 million of spending a year on mostly local materials, supplies, and services.
4. What specific factors, particularly relating to COVID, has Westmoreland assessed and considered in its decision to re-start the mine?
The most important consideration behind the decision has been the very successful campaign in Canada to get more than 70% of the population vaccinated. This
dramatically reduces the risk to our employees and the community as a whole. We have also learned to be more diligent in certain practices and habits such as the need to wear masks when appropriate (or required) and carry out more extensive sanitizing measures on our operations.
- What approvals or changes will Coal Valley have to make in order to get approval to re-start operations?
The areas in question are already fully permitted and licensed. They have been operated in full compliance with local regulations and our own cycle of responsible mineral and resource development.
In keeping with that cycle, we have always applied leading standards and processes to ensure that reclamation and restoration activities follow closely behind any disturbance from mining operations. Having full operating resources at our disposal and a complete workforce in place will allow us to renew our focus on those practices and provide more effective and innovative solutions to deliver a high standard of environmental outcomes.
Recent activities at the mine, prior to COVID disruptions, concentrated on best-in-class techniques and procedures for recontouring, soil replacement, revegetation and reforestation that have also been successfully applied at many other similar sites in Alberta. In addition, some of the concepts at Coal Valley have resulted in the award-winning development of pit end lakes, which have been used as prototypes for use in the sports fishery industry.
To ensure the robust renewal of our environmental protection and reclamation efforts, we engaged with our regulator, the AER, early in the decision-making process. This was to ensure full compliance with the Coal Conservation Act in strict accordance with our current mining license.