Teck Coal is looking to extend its operations at Fording River in the Elk Valley, beginning the initial stages of the Environmental Assessment Process for the proposed Castle Project.

Located directly adjacent to Fording River, the Castle Project would serve as the primary source of coal for Fording River Operations moving forward.

“The Castle Project is a proposed extension at Fording River Operations to maintain production at current levels and the approximately 1,400 jobs the operation provides,” Nic Milligan told MyEastKootenayNow.com, Teck Coal Manager of Social Responsibility. “The current permitted area only maintains mining rates at Fording River through to mid-2020s.”

According to Teck Coal, Fording River accounts for one-third of the company’s coal production, producing approximately 8.5 to 9.5 million tonnes every year.

Milligan said coal reserves and resources at Fording River with the Castle Project could support current production levels for decades to come.

Fording River has been in operation since 1972 and owned by Teck since 2008, producing more than 295 million tonnes of coal in its lifetime.

Still years away from approval, Teck Coal is starting initial consultations about the proposed extension.

“In terms of next steps, early this year we plan to begin the Environmental Assessment process with an Initial Project Description to gather initial feedback from government, Indigenous Peoples, and communities on the project.”

The Environmental Assessment Process will take several years, as the Castle Project is still in the “pre-feasibility design stage” while Teck Coal estimates a decision from the B.C. Government could happen as early as 2023.

More: Teck’s Presentation to District of Sparwood Council (Teck Coal)

Image showing the approximate location of the Castle Project adjacent to the current Fording River Operations. (Supplied by Teck Coal)

Map of Teck Coal’s Elk Valley mining operations and the proposed Castle Project. (Supplied by Teck Coal)