New Zealand’s largest coal mining company has recently acquired Telkwa Coal’s Tenas Project, which has been extremely controversial in the Bulkley Valley. Bathurst Resources is increasing its Canadian and steel-making coal assets through the acquisition of the northern B.C. project. The Tenas Coal Project is located 25 kilometres south of Smithers and seven kilometres southwest of Telkwa. Although Telkwa Coal is a subsidiary of Australian company Allegiance Coal, it has always presented itself as local, leaving some local opponents of the project even more frustrated.
A local group called What Matters in Our Valley (WMIOV) has been vehemently opposed to the Tenas Project right from the beginning, and they are even less pleased now with the development of a large multinational corporation taking it over.
Nancy Cody, co-chair of WMIOV, said it’s no surprise that Bathurst has entered into an agreement to purchase the assets of the project from Telkwa Coal, as Allegiance is a junior company and has little mining experience. “Now, as before, we see the risks of this proposed mine to the conservation of our rivers, water, fish, wildlife, air and quality of life,” she said. “This is especially true as we are experiencing the hottest and driest summer ever recorded.”
Cody goes on to say that WMIOV will continue to update the public about the plans and risks of the proposed mine.
“We ask the public to participate in the environmental assessment process and also that they reflect on what they value most for themselves and for all future generations.” she said.
Richard Tacon, CEO of Bathurst, said he recognizes the project is a delicate matter. “Bathurst also has significant experience working alongside Indigenous Peoples, which remains a priority for us at all of our projects,” he said.