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Category: Haisla First Nation

Canfor to shut down sawmills in Chetwynd, Houston – Prince George Citizen

Canfor Corp. (TSX:CFP) says it will permanently shut down its sawmill and pellet mill in Chetwynd B.C., and will also shutter its sawmill in Houston, B.C. to redevelop that site. The anouncement comes just weeks after the company announced it will permanently shut down its pulp mill in Prince George. Canfor is rationalizing its sawmill and pulp mill operations in B.C. to align with a shrinking fibre supply. The company plans to build a “new, modern globally competitive manufacturing facility” in Houston to produce “high value products.” “The company will undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the availability of economic fibre and a thorough project financial analysis, supporting a final investment decision by the end of the second quarter of 2023,” Canfor said in a news release. “Both facilities will be closed following an orderly wind down of operations that is expected to conclude early in the second quarter of 2023 and will remove approximately 750 million board feet of annual production capacity.” “We are making these difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint in B.C.,” said Canfor CEO Don Kayne. “Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest to enhance our ability to compete and to operate throughout the market cycles. “This is what will ultimately create greater stability for our employees and communities, while ensuring we can continue to provide the high quality, low carbon products that are in demand by our customers around the world.” nbennett@biv.com twitter.com/nbennett_biv

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Sawmill permanently closing as Canfor restructures B.C. operations – Prince George Citizen

VANCOUVER — Canfor Corporation says it is “restructuring” its operations in British Columbia, permanently closing one sawmill and shuttering another for an extended period amid plans to build a new wood manufacturing facility.
A statement Wednesday from the Vancouver-based company says the sawmill and pellet plant in Chetwynd, B.C., north of Prince George, is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2023.
Meanwhile, it says the sawmill in Houston, B.C., west of Prince George, will close temporarily for an unspecified period as Canfor plans to build a “new, modern, globally competitive manufacturing facility” to produce “high-value products.”
Canfor says preliminary engineering and budgeting for that project are underway, and the company will conduct a “comprehensive evaluation” of the availability of fibre to support the facility, making a final investment decision by the end of June.
Forests Minister Bruce Ralston issued a statement in response to Canfor’s announcement, saying the B.C. government is “committed to supporting forestry workers impacted by closures,” and community support teams have been activated.
Canfor president Don Kayne says the company is making these “difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint” in B.C.
“Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest,” his statement said. “This is what will ultimately create greater stability for our employees and communities.”
While the near-term outlook in B.C. is “challenging” given the supply of fibre, he said, the province “remains an important part” of the company’s operations.
“The changes we are announcing will help make us smaller but stronger in B.C. and help ensure we can continue to contribute to the economy and quality of life here in the province for decades to come.”
Canfor representatives did not immediately reply Wednesday evening to a question about the number of jobs affected by the closures.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Canfor announced it will permanently close the pulp line at its Prince George pulp and paper mill later this spring, affecting an estimated 300 jobs by the end of the year.
Ralston’s statement notes B.C.’s annual allowable cut has declined with “unprecedented wildfires” in different parts of the province, as well as the wind-down of harvesting in forests affected by earlier mountain pine beetle infestations.
He said the province welcomes Canfor’s plan to build a manufacturing facility in Houston, where the minister notes the annual harvest has declined by more than 25 per cent compared with 2008, during the height of the beetle epidemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:CFP, TSX:CFX)

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Canfor to permanently close Chetwynd sawmill and pellet plant – Prince George Citizen

Canfor Corporation will be permanently closing its Chetwynd sawmill and pellet plant, the company said Wednesday, as part of a plan to better align manufacturing capacity in British Columbia with the available long-term fibre supply.

It will also be closing its Houston sawmill for an extended period to put it through a major redevelopment with both closures to have occurred by early in the second quarter of this year. A final investment decision on the Houston renovation is to be made by the end of the second quarter.

“We are making these difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint in B.C.,” Canfor president and CEO Don Kayne said in the statement. “Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest to enhance our ability to compete and to operate throughout the market cycles.”

Kayne said the company has invested $2.1 billion in its B.C. operations over the last decade.

“The Houston investment would represent another significant commitment and be amongst the largest capital expenditures in a new wood products manufacturing facility in B.C.’s interior in two decades,” he said.

He said the company will be working with industry partners and Indigenous Nations to ensure that fibre currently processed at the Chetwynd facility will be sent to local and regional manufacturing facilities, “helping them to be more sustainable and to keep people working in the Peace Region.”

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Coastal GasLink fined $213600 – Prince George Citizen

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has issued a $213,600 fine to Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd.

The step was taken in answer to “erosion and sediment control measures identified by compliance and enforcement officers” during inspections of pipeline construction in Section 8 near Kitimat in February 2022, the EAO said in a statement issued Tuesday.

It was the third time EAO has levied a fine against Coastal GasLink. More than 50 inspections have been carried out along the pipeline construction route since the project started in 2019, with 37 warnings, 17 orders and two prior financial penalties: $72,500 in February 2022; and $170,100 in May 2022.

“Recurring issues with erosion and sediment control over the past year have resulted in ongoing compliance and enforcement action, though more recent inspections are showing improvements on the ground following implementation of a compliance agreement in July 2022,” EAO said in the statement.

Compliance and enforcement officers have recommended additional financial penalties from other inspections in 2022, which are under consideration.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline will connect natural gas facilities west of Dawson Creek to the LNG Canada liquid natural gas export facility near Kitimat, which is also under construction. 

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Prince George business leader rips B.C. government over value … – Prince George Citizen

John Brink is angry about the B.C. government’s decision to allocate 10 per cent of B.C.’s annual allowable cut to the value-added forest sector.

The owner of Brink Forest Products says the allocation should be 10 times the 600,000 cubic metres the province intends to reserve for secondary manufacturers.

“If it is 600,000 cubic metres annually that is nothing, that is not even the size of a regular sawmill,” Brink said. “That means the government has said, ‘We don’t want value-added manufacturing.’ If you do not have reasonable expectation of access to fibre, why would anybody invest in value-added manufacturing?”

B.C. Timber Sales controls between six million and eight million cubic metres of timber, which represents about 20 per cent of the annual allowable cut, and Brink says all of that should be made available to value-added bidders.

He predicts the restricted timber supply available will cripple value-added businesses and deter investment in B.C.

“There is not much left of the value-added sector in British Columbia, virtually none left in northern B.C.,” Brink said. “There are three or four companies here (in northern B.C) and I’d be surprised of there’s two left in a couple months from now.”

In the mid-1990s, when Brink was founding president of the BC Council of Value-Added Wood Processors, there were eight associations and 800 member companies, two-thirds of which are no longer operating.

Forests Minister Bruce Raltson made the value-added announcement Tuesday. The government says the 10 per cent allocation for secondary forestry licensees to bid on is an initial offering and more volume is expected in the future.

Tuesday’s announcement comes a week after the province unveiled its BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, a $90 million program to prop up the struggling forest industry. Brink says the fund is more to help forestry workers transition from layoffs due to mill closures and he has no intention of applying for any government funding.

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Blackwater Gold project aims for summer construction start – Prince George Citizen

Steven Dean is like a drag racer sitting at the start line behind the wheel of billion dollar machine waiting for the green light to drop.

The chairman and CEO of Artemis Gold Inc., has been stuck in staging for 2 ½ years, ready to hit the throttle on a project to build one of the largest gold mines in Canada.

Located 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George, the Blackwater Gold open-pit gold-silver mine is expected generate thousands of jobs and deliver wealth to a forestry-dependent region left reeling in the wake of a series of recent mill closures.

“This mine has been in permitting phase for almost 10 years – it’s been a tough and long road for us and the previous owner New Gold, but I think we are close to getting the permits we need, particularly the provincial ones,” said Dean, who stated his case for faster approval of the project to B.C. Premier David Eby and his cabinet last week at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

“I had some good conversations with the premier. Very definitely they are hearing the message from industry and from the community that there’s got to be a more efficient way, from a time and cost perspective, to bring forth the benefits, social and environmental, of economic development.”

In 2019, B.C. became the first government to adopt the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which gives First Nations more decision-making authority on any developments that affect their traditional territory. Blackwater is one of the first major-project test cases under the new legislation and Dean admits that has contributed to delays in approval.

“Blackwater was in some ways caught in that period of change and I’m hoping that some of the initiatives we’re about to adopt and agree to and announce are precedent-setting in a way that will allow for the future a better mode of engagement for everybody, including First Nations,” said Dean.

“This change has foisted a huge responsibility on them as well. Their engagement in the process of permitting is an enormous task and I feel for them and their administration. It’s a huge and exhausting job and I’m really proud of the people working for their nations who are by and large doing a great job.”

Dean said all the company has done all it can to have all the pieces in place and construction will begin as soon as Blackwater obtains its Mines Act permit.

Key to the $2.5 billion project will be a new 133-kilometre BC Hydro transmission line which will allow Blackwater to build one of the mining sector’s first fully-electric ore processing plants. The carbon-neutral setup will replace traditional diesel/propane fuelled processing and adds to the cost of construction but it will reduce the carbon footprint of the mine.

The Vancouver company has signed an agreement with Caterpillar Inc., that gives Blackwater an option to buy an electric-powered zero-emission mining fleet of 200-tonne dump trucks.

“I think Caterpillar sees the poster-child potential of this mine because to charge those batteries we’ll be pugging into a grid that has a 98 per cent renewable energy base,” said Dean. “You can have electric trucks in Africa or even the U.S. or parts of Australia but you’re plugging those into an energy source which is coal, where this is truly green. It’s our single biggest advantage in this province and the government will showcase it to the world.”

A feasibility study predicts the mine will produce 321,000 troy ounces of gold annually over the first five years. Over its expected 22-year lifespan, the company hopes to extract 11.7 million ounces of gold and 122.4 million ounces of silver. Dean says it could be producing for 30 or 40 years, which could mean career-spanning occupations for some workers.

Exploration has been recorded on the 15,000-hectare property since 1973. Richfield Ventures acquired the site in 2009 and sold to New Gold in May 2011. Artemis bought the project from New Gold in August 2020 for $150 million. New Gold also received 7.4 million common shares of Artemis in the deal and will get eight per cent of the gold produced by the project, dropping to four per cent once a 280,000-ounce threshold has been reached.

The deposit stretches is about one kilometre wide, 500 metres wide and between 300 and 400 m deep. No mine of that scale has been built in B.C since the Mount Milligan gold-copper mine southwest of Mackenzie opened in 2013. The Blackwater ore is considered relatively low-grade but the large area it encompasses and near-surface deposits make the project economical.  

In January 2020, Blackwater announced it had signed agreements between the province and the Lhoosk’uz Dené and Ulkatcho nations, upon whose lands the mine sits, and the company will share a portion of the provincial mineral tax revenue collected from mining operations. Over the life of the mine that tax total is expected to reach $722 million.

“We enjoy a good relationship with (both nations) and they say if we can get the mine going it will be a generational change for their membership,” said Dean. “Whether it be the health and wellness benefits to those nations, whether it be the economic benefits, the jobs, training, the business opportunities related to the mine’s construction as well as operation, I can imagine that being generation-changing and that’s exciting and very cool.”

Blackwater is also collaborating with the Nadleh Whut’en, Saik’uz, Stellat’en and Nazko nations to develop and enhance impact benefit agreements.

Site preparation began last fall and 103 workers (35 per cent Indigenous, 30 per cent women) have cleared the area and set up a water treatment facility where the expanded 495-person work camp now sits.

Phase 1 will take two years to complete as a cost of about $645 in capital. It will involve a construction workforce of about 500 (400 contractors, 100 directly hired) and an operational staff of about 300. The mine site is 110 km south of Vanderhoof on a logging road, a 2 ½-hour trip.

Development will take pace in three or four phases. The truck and shovel operation is expected to start mining ore in the third quarter of this year.

At full capacity it will have 400 or 500 operators. Support services, contractors and fabricators in Prince George and Vanderhoof will be among the indirect jobs created.

Dean said the company plans to announce details of a precedent-setting caribou herd restoration initiative which will involve restoration efforts to remove the impacts of industries and their activities along migration route that connects to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

“We’re making some ground-breaking initiatives in relation to fish and to wetlands that really show how committed we are to the environment, not just our impacts but historic impacts from cattle and other industrial activity,” said Dean.

The Perth, Australia native says Blackwater Gold will be unprecedented in its efforts to meet strict environmental standards and embrace its social responsibilities.

“We’re no longer our grandfather’s industry,” he said.

“We are very much a modern mining approach, partly driven by regulation and the way governments want to see things, but also because the world has changed and corporate policies have changed. Our own shareholders, the big investors, are weighting environmental social governance higher than they have in the past.”  

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Canfor to shut down sawmills in Chetwynd, Houston – Prince George Citizen

Canfor Corp. (TSX:CFP) says it will permanently shut down its sawmill and pellet mill in Chetwynd B.C., and will also shutter its sawmill in Houston, B.C. to redevelop that site. The anouncement comes just weeks after the company announced it will permanently shut down its pulp mill in Prince George. Canfor is rationalizing its sawmill and pulp mill operations in B.C. to align with a shrinking fibre supply. The company plans to build a “new, modern globally competitive manufacturing facility” in Houston to produce “high value products.” “The company will undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the availability of economic fibre and a thorough project financial analysis, supporting a final investment decision by the end of the second quarter of 2023,” Canfor said in a news release. “Both facilities will be closed following an orderly wind down of operations that is expected to conclude early in the second quarter of 2023 and will remove approximately 750 million board feet of annual production capacity.” “We are making these difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint in B.C.,” said Canfor CEO Don Kayne. “Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest to enhance our ability to compete and to operate throughout the market cycles. “This is what will ultimately create greater stability for our employees and communities, while ensuring we can continue to provide the high quality, low carbon products that are in demand by our customers around the world.” nbennett@biv.com twitter.com/nbennett_biv

Read More »

Sawmill permanently closing as Canfor restructures B.C. operations – Prince George Citizen

VANCOUVER — Canfor Corporation says it is “restructuring” its operations in British Columbia, permanently closing one sawmill and shuttering another for an extended period amid plans to build a new wood manufacturing facility.
A statement Wednesday from the Vancouver-based company says the sawmill and pellet plant in Chetwynd, B.C., north of Prince George, is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2023.
Meanwhile, it says the sawmill in Houston, B.C., west of Prince George, will close temporarily for an unspecified period as Canfor plans to build a “new, modern, globally competitive manufacturing facility” to produce “high-value products.”
Canfor says preliminary engineering and budgeting for that project are underway, and the company will conduct a “comprehensive evaluation” of the availability of fibre to support the facility, making a final investment decision by the end of June.
Forests Minister Bruce Ralston issued a statement in response to Canfor’s announcement, saying the B.C. government is “committed to supporting forestry workers impacted by closures,” and community support teams have been activated.
Canfor president Don Kayne says the company is making these “difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint” in B.C.
“Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest,” his statement said. “This is what will ultimately create greater stability for our employees and communities.”
While the near-term outlook in B.C. is “challenging” given the supply of fibre, he said, the province “remains an important part” of the company’s operations.
“The changes we are announcing will help make us smaller but stronger in B.C. and help ensure we can continue to contribute to the economy and quality of life here in the province for decades to come.”
Canfor representatives did not immediately reply Wednesday evening to a question about the number of jobs affected by the closures.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Canfor announced it will permanently close the pulp line at its Prince George pulp and paper mill later this spring, affecting an estimated 300 jobs by the end of the year.
Ralston’s statement notes B.C.’s annual allowable cut has declined with “unprecedented wildfires” in different parts of the province, as well as the wind-down of harvesting in forests affected by earlier mountain pine beetle infestations.
He said the province welcomes Canfor’s plan to build a manufacturing facility in Houston, where the minister notes the annual harvest has declined by more than 25 per cent compared with 2008, during the height of the beetle epidemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:CFP, TSX:CFX)

Read More »

Canfor to permanently close Chetwynd sawmill and pellet plant – Prince George Citizen

Canfor Corporation will be permanently closing its Chetwynd sawmill and pellet plant, the company said Wednesday, as part of a plan to better align manufacturing capacity in British Columbia with the available long-term fibre supply.

It will also be closing its Houston sawmill for an extended period to put it through a major redevelopment with both closures to have occurred by early in the second quarter of this year. A final investment decision on the Houston renovation is to be made by the end of the second quarter.

“We are making these difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint in B.C.,” Canfor president and CEO Don Kayne said in the statement. “Our goal is to match our mill capacity with the economically available fibre for harvest to enhance our ability to compete and to operate throughout the market cycles.”

Kayne said the company has invested $2.1 billion in its B.C. operations over the last decade.

“The Houston investment would represent another significant commitment and be amongst the largest capital expenditures in a new wood products manufacturing facility in B.C.’s interior in two decades,” he said.

He said the company will be working with industry partners and Indigenous Nations to ensure that fibre currently processed at the Chetwynd facility will be sent to local and regional manufacturing facilities, “helping them to be more sustainable and to keep people working in the Peace Region.”

Read More »

Coastal GasLink fined $213600 – Prince George Citizen

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has issued a $213,600 fine to Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd.

The step was taken in answer to “erosion and sediment control measures identified by compliance and enforcement officers” during inspections of pipeline construction in Section 8 near Kitimat in February 2022, the EAO said in a statement issued Tuesday.

It was the third time EAO has levied a fine against Coastal GasLink. More than 50 inspections have been carried out along the pipeline construction route since the project started in 2019, with 37 warnings, 17 orders and two prior financial penalties: $72,500 in February 2022; and $170,100 in May 2022.

“Recurring issues with erosion and sediment control over the past year have resulted in ongoing compliance and enforcement action, though more recent inspections are showing improvements on the ground following implementation of a compliance agreement in July 2022,” EAO said in the statement.

Compliance and enforcement officers have recommended additional financial penalties from other inspections in 2022, which are under consideration.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline will connect natural gas facilities west of Dawson Creek to the LNG Canada liquid natural gas export facility near Kitimat, which is also under construction. 

Read More »

Prince George business leader rips B.C. government over value … – Prince George Citizen

John Brink is angry about the B.C. government’s decision to allocate 10 per cent of B.C.’s annual allowable cut to the value-added forest sector.

The owner of Brink Forest Products says the allocation should be 10 times the 600,000 cubic metres the province intends to reserve for secondary manufacturers.

“If it is 600,000 cubic metres annually that is nothing, that is not even the size of a regular sawmill,” Brink said. “That means the government has said, ‘We don’t want value-added manufacturing.’ If you do not have reasonable expectation of access to fibre, why would anybody invest in value-added manufacturing?”

B.C. Timber Sales controls between six million and eight million cubic metres of timber, which represents about 20 per cent of the annual allowable cut, and Brink says all of that should be made available to value-added bidders.

He predicts the restricted timber supply available will cripple value-added businesses and deter investment in B.C.

“There is not much left of the value-added sector in British Columbia, virtually none left in northern B.C.,” Brink said. “There are three or four companies here (in northern B.C) and I’d be surprised of there’s two left in a couple months from now.”

In the mid-1990s, when Brink was founding president of the BC Council of Value-Added Wood Processors, there were eight associations and 800 member companies, two-thirds of which are no longer operating.

Forests Minister Bruce Raltson made the value-added announcement Tuesday. The government says the 10 per cent allocation for secondary forestry licensees to bid on is an initial offering and more volume is expected in the future.

Tuesday’s announcement comes a week after the province unveiled its BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, a $90 million program to prop up the struggling forest industry. Brink says the fund is more to help forestry workers transition from layoffs due to mill closures and he has no intention of applying for any government funding.

Read More »

Blackwater Gold project aims for summer construction start – Prince George Citizen

Steven Dean is like a drag racer sitting at the start line behind the wheel of billion dollar machine waiting for the green light to drop.

The chairman and CEO of Artemis Gold Inc., has been stuck in staging for 2 ½ years, ready to hit the throttle on a project to build one of the largest gold mines in Canada.

Located 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George, the Blackwater Gold open-pit gold-silver mine is expected generate thousands of jobs and deliver wealth to a forestry-dependent region left reeling in the wake of a series of recent mill closures.

“This mine has been in permitting phase for almost 10 years – it’s been a tough and long road for us and the previous owner New Gold, but I think we are close to getting the permits we need, particularly the provincial ones,” said Dean, who stated his case for faster approval of the project to B.C. Premier David Eby and his cabinet last week at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

“I had some good conversations with the premier. Very definitely they are hearing the message from industry and from the community that there’s got to be a more efficient way, from a time and cost perspective, to bring forth the benefits, social and environmental, of economic development.”

In 2019, B.C. became the first government to adopt the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which gives First Nations more decision-making authority on any developments that affect their traditional territory. Blackwater is one of the first major-project test cases under the new legislation and Dean admits that has contributed to delays in approval.

“Blackwater was in some ways caught in that period of change and I’m hoping that some of the initiatives we’re about to adopt and agree to and announce are precedent-setting in a way that will allow for the future a better mode of engagement for everybody, including First Nations,” said Dean.

“This change has foisted a huge responsibility on them as well. Their engagement in the process of permitting is an enormous task and I feel for them and their administration. It’s a huge and exhausting job and I’m really proud of the people working for their nations who are by and large doing a great job.”

Dean said all the company has done all it can to have all the pieces in place and construction will begin as soon as Blackwater obtains its Mines Act permit.

Key to the $2.5 billion project will be a new 133-kilometre BC Hydro transmission line which will allow Blackwater to build one of the mining sector’s first fully-electric ore processing plants. The carbon-neutral setup will replace traditional diesel/propane fuelled processing and adds to the cost of construction but it will reduce the carbon footprint of the mine.

The Vancouver company has signed an agreement with Caterpillar Inc., that gives Blackwater an option to buy an electric-powered zero-emission mining fleet of 200-tonne dump trucks.

“I think Caterpillar sees the poster-child potential of this mine because to charge those batteries we’ll be pugging into a grid that has a 98 per cent renewable energy base,” said Dean. “You can have electric trucks in Africa or even the U.S. or parts of Australia but you’re plugging those into an energy source which is coal, where this is truly green. It’s our single biggest advantage in this province and the government will showcase it to the world.”

A feasibility study predicts the mine will produce 321,000 troy ounces of gold annually over the first five years. Over its expected 22-year lifespan, the company hopes to extract 11.7 million ounces of gold and 122.4 million ounces of silver. Dean says it could be producing for 30 or 40 years, which could mean career-spanning occupations for some workers.

Exploration has been recorded on the 15,000-hectare property since 1973. Richfield Ventures acquired the site in 2009 and sold to New Gold in May 2011. Artemis bought the project from New Gold in August 2020 for $150 million. New Gold also received 7.4 million common shares of Artemis in the deal and will get eight per cent of the gold produced by the project, dropping to four per cent once a 280,000-ounce threshold has been reached.

The deposit stretches is about one kilometre wide, 500 metres wide and between 300 and 400 m deep. No mine of that scale has been built in B.C since the Mount Milligan gold-copper mine southwest of Mackenzie opened in 2013. The Blackwater ore is considered relatively low-grade but the large area it encompasses and near-surface deposits make the project economical.  

In January 2020, Blackwater announced it had signed agreements between the province and the Lhoosk’uz Dené and Ulkatcho nations, upon whose lands the mine sits, and the company will share a portion of the provincial mineral tax revenue collected from mining operations. Over the life of the mine that tax total is expected to reach $722 million.

“We enjoy a good relationship with (both nations) and they say if we can get the mine going it will be a generational change for their membership,” said Dean. “Whether it be the health and wellness benefits to those nations, whether it be the economic benefits, the jobs, training, the business opportunities related to the mine’s construction as well as operation, I can imagine that being generation-changing and that’s exciting and very cool.”

Blackwater is also collaborating with the Nadleh Whut’en, Saik’uz, Stellat’en and Nazko nations to develop and enhance impact benefit agreements.

Site preparation began last fall and 103 workers (35 per cent Indigenous, 30 per cent women) have cleared the area and set up a water treatment facility where the expanded 495-person work camp now sits.

Phase 1 will take two years to complete as a cost of about $645 in capital. It will involve a construction workforce of about 500 (400 contractors, 100 directly hired) and an operational staff of about 300. The mine site is 110 km south of Vanderhoof on a logging road, a 2 ½-hour trip.

Development will take pace in three or four phases. The truck and shovel operation is expected to start mining ore in the third quarter of this year.

At full capacity it will have 400 or 500 operators. Support services, contractors and fabricators in Prince George and Vanderhoof will be among the indirect jobs created.

Dean said the company plans to announce details of a precedent-setting caribou herd restoration initiative which will involve restoration efforts to remove the impacts of industries and their activities along migration route that connects to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

“We’re making some ground-breaking initiatives in relation to fish and to wetlands that really show how committed we are to the environment, not just our impacts but historic impacts from cattle and other industrial activity,” said Dean.

The Perth, Australia native says Blackwater Gold will be unprecedented in its efforts to meet strict environmental standards and embrace its social responsibilities.

“We’re no longer our grandfather’s industry,” he said.

“We are very much a modern mining approach, partly driven by regulation and the way governments want to see things, but also because the world has changed and corporate policies have changed. Our own shareholders, the big investors, are weighting environmental social governance higher than they have in the past.”  

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