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Welcome to the Fording River Extension Newsletter, a newsletter designed to provide you with updates and information on the Fording River Extension Project. 

About Fording River Extension 

The Fording River Extension Project is a proposed extension of Teck's existing Fording River steelmaking coal mine located in the East Kootenay region in southeastern British Columbia. The Project represents and opportunity to extend the lifespan of our existing Fording River Operations and maintain the jobs and economic benefits generated by the operation in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. 

Visit the Fording River Extension Website to learn more, contribute your feedback and register for updates.
 
Fording River Extension Project Website

Coordinated Environmental Assessment Process

The Fording River Extension (FRX) Project is subject to a coordinated provincial and federal environmental assessment (EA) process. This process includes multiple stages over several years and is conducted by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC). Teck is currently working on the Detailed Project Description, a requirement of the Early Engagement stage of the assessment. The Detailed Project Description is informed by technical studies that have been advanced to date and supports in refining Project components and options through the design process. Feedback received through the Early Engagement public comment period has also been incorporated into the Detailed Project Description. The information from the Detailed Project Description will inform the EA Readiness Decision (provincial) and the Notice of Determination (federal). It will also help set the application information requirements during the next stage of the assessment, the Process Planning stage. 

The coordinated assessment process includes public comment periods in the Early Engagement, Process Planning, Application Development and Recommendation stages. Please see the environmental assessment timeline below for more information on the coordinated process. Although there are several government designated public comment periods, Teck welcomes direct public input in between these official periods. To submit your input at any time, you can: 

Fording River Extension Project Website

Socio-Economic and Land Use Data Collection

Teck intends to work with, BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC), Indigenous nations and other technical advisors to select the final list of Valued Components to be assessed for the Project. The intent of the selection process is to identify Valued Components that are relevant to issues raised, responsive to potential effects, and representative of the various parts of the environment. Proposed Valued Components for FRX can be organized into three categories: 

  1. Physical environment
  2. Biological Environment
  3. Human Environment

The Project team has begun collecting socio-economic and land use data to address baseline needs of the Cultural and Social Valued Components. A key goal of the socio-economic and land use baseline will be to update and expand upon the most recent socio-economic baseline studies completed for other Teck Elk Valley mines to further the understanding of social, economic, and land use baseline conditions in the Elk Valley and its communities. Desktop data collection has been undertaken to review publicly available information regarding baseline conditions for the Cultural and Social Valued Components: employment and economy, infrastructure and services, community health and wellbeing, land and resource use and visual aesthetics.  

Primary data collection will be undertaken to supplement the desktop studies using several approaches: 

  • Interviews with community organizations and representatives, commercial resource operators, municipal government/staff responsible for services and economic development.
  • Focus groups with local government and mapping sessions with land users 

We look forward to working with our communities to collect data throughout Spring 2021.  

2021 Field Programs
The collection of baseline data for the FRX Project has been ongoing since 2018. This data is used to characterize the existing conditions of the Project area for the purpose of the environmental assessment application. Although the majority of baseline information needed has been collected in past field seasons the programs outlined below will continue throughout 2021.  

Ecosystems and Vegetation

Ecosystems and vegetation surveys focus on providing information about the presence of plant species at risk, ecological communities at risk and sensitive ecosystems. Terrestrial Ecosystem mapping was completed in 2020. Upcoming field activities for 2021 include: 

  • Collection of additional plot data for wetlands that are predominantly located in the Fording River floodplain to contribute to the wetland function assessment. 
  • Additional plant species of risk surveys within the Project footprint. 

Fish and Fish Habitat

Fish and fish habitat studies assess habitat availability and suitability for Westslope Cutthroat Trout, including spawning and overwintering habitat, and other aquatic-dependent wildlife within the Project area drainages and tributaries. Continuing field activities for 2021 include: 

  • Fish and fish habitat baseline and instream flow assessments in the Fording River, Kilmarnock Creek, and Chauncey Creek areas. 

Hydrogeology

Hydrogeology baseline information is not only important to understand seasonal changes in groundwater flow patterns, groundwater levels, and groundwater quality, it also helps to inform the fish and fish habitat, aquatic health, human and terrestrial wildlife health, and wildlife components of the Project.  Planned field activities for 2021 are: 

  • Continuation of the groundwater monitoring program across the Project footprint. 
  • Additional flow and load accretion studies in Chauncey Creek to better understand the groundwater flow in specific areas. 

Wildlife

Wildlife field studies characterize the existing environment as it relates to wildlife by describing the presence, distribution, relative abundance, and habitat use of wildlife within the Project area.  

  • There are no additional wildlife field studies planned for 2021; programs were completed in 2020. 

Elkview Saturated Rock Fill Expansion Completed

Commissioning of Teck’s Elkview Saturated Rock Fill (SRF) is now underway. The expansion doubles the water treatment facility’s capacity to 20 million litres of water per day.  

The completion of the Elkview Saturated Rock Fill expansion is an important step in the implementation of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan (EVWQP) and further demonstrates progress advancing water treatment in the Elk Valley. The Elkview SRF is Teck’s second treatment facility, with our third and fourth facilities under construction now at Fording River Operations. In 2021, ew expect to have capacity to treat more than 54 million litres per day - nearly three times our 2020 treatment capacity. We expect further significant reductions of selenium and nitrate as additional facilities come online.

Saturated rock fill technology was developed through Teck’s water quality research and development program in partnership with leading water quality experts. By working together, we are protecting water quality and enabling responsible mining in the Elk Valley for years to come. 

Learn more about the Elkview SRF here.
Learn more about our Elk Valley Water Quality Plan progress here 

Learn More About Saturated Rock Fill Technology

Meet Rory Heffel, Senior Production Engineer - FRX Project

Rory is a Mechanical Engineer (P.Eng.) who has been working with Teck since 2013. Currently he works in the Innovation group with a focus on examining technology options that could reduce carbon emissions for the Fording River Extension (FRX) Project.

As part of our commitment to climate action and responsible resource development, Teck has set an objective to be carbon neutral by 2050. Teck has set out an initial roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality by first avoiding emissions and then eliminating or minimizing emissions. This will include looking at alternative ways of moving materials at our mines, using cleaner energy sources, and implementing efficiency improvements. Since 2011, Teck has implemented projects and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at our operations by 411,000 tonnes. 

Rory’s role on the Project team is to evaluate technologies that could be implemented to reduce GHG emissions over the life of the Project. On a Project scale, Teck is looking at reducing the main sources of emissions that result from combustion of diesel and natural gas. 



"My goal is to further understand the options available to us to reduce the Project's GHG emissions."
- Rory Heffel, Senior Production Engineer, Calgary Alberta
Learn More About How Teck is Taking Action on Climate Change

Register for Project Updates


Looking for updates and announcements about the Fording River Extension (FRX) Project in between newsletters? The FRX Website provides updates and announcements about the Project and related activities in the Elk Valley.
 
To learn more, receive regularly updated information, and contribute your comments and feedback, please register on the Fording River Extension Website.
Register

What do you want to learn more about? 


Get involved and make your opinion known. From regulatory process to environmental studies, let the
FRX team know what's important to you, and what areas you would like more information on. 

Visit the Fording River Extension website to learn more and participate in our poll.
 

Get in Touch 

The Project is committed to working with all of our Communities of Interest that is Indigenous Peoples, regulators and the public, both during and after the environmental assessment process, to understand and respond to issues and interests regarding the Project.

Insights from engagement can inform Project design, siting, and alternative approaches to developing the Project. During this phase, we will also seek to identify additional Communities of Interest and preferred methods of engagement.

Register on the Fording River Extension website to be the first to know about future engagements. As the Project advances through the regulatory process, you are invited to submit comments and feedback on the Project by:

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