Westmoreland Contact: Ryan Schetzsle
Associate General Counsel, Westmoreland Mining Holdings, LLC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WESTMORELAND ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF COAL VALLEY MINE
Restart to Begin with Hiring 300 Highly Skilled Local Employees
EDSON, ALBERTA, AUGUST 9, 2021 – Westmoreland Mining Holdings LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC today announced the resumption of operations at the Company’s Coal Valley Mine near Edson. The mine has been in care and maintenance since June 2020 due to severe constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic that were placed on this unique operation.
The Company expects to restart production in the fourth quarter of 2021 and to restore approximately 300 high-paying direct jobs and up to 750 indirect jobs across Yellowhead County.
Martin Purvis, CEO of Westmoreland, said, “Coal Valley has been a cornerstone of the community and economy in Edson for generations, so it’s wonderful to be able to restart operations with most of the people who have already given years of dedicated service to the mine and borne the brunt of the pandemic crisis. We’ve had plans ready to go for quite some time but had to wait until all the vaccination goals had been reached and the major restrictions lifted. With over 70% of the population in Canada now protected, we were finally able to give the decision the green light.”
Reopening to Provide Economic Boost to the Region
According to Steve Love, General Manager of Coal Valley, reopening the mine will also add approximately $30 million a year to the local wage base, at least $3 million in taxes and royalties to the Province, and $60 million a year in economic activity dispersed within multiple sectors associated with the mine’s purchases of supplies and services.
Westmoreland has also worked closely with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to ensure that the mine’s reopening not only adheres to regulatory requirements, in which lands are reclaimed to a state equal to or better than before the mine opened, but also fully meets Alberta’s regulatory requirements for sustainability.
“Our plan carefully follows the robust legacy of responsible use and reclamation activity completed before the mine was placed in Care and Maintenance,” added Love. “This will enable us to complete the reclamation process contemporaneously with mining operations, a practice that has always been central to our comprehensive business plan, but which was interrupted unexpectedly by COVID.”
In terms of the return to work, Joe Micheletti, Chief Operating Officer added, “We will continue to put the safety of our employees first and foremost by applying all the additional protective measures we have successfully learned over the past year – including masks where and when appropriate as well as routine sanitization procedures.
“All in all, reopening Coal Valley is a win-win-win for our employees, the community, and environmental stewardship,” said Micheletti. “It will allow us to execute our mine plan, including our reclamation plan, to its fullest extent, providing a tremendous shot in the arm to Edson and the surrounding communities in the wake of the economic hardships created by COVID.”