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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. 

What's New 

Looking for updates and announcements about the Fording River Extension Project (FRO-X) in between newsletters? The News and Updates page on the Fording River Extension 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 for Project Updates

Proposed Project Gets a New Name

Teck has changed the name of the proposed project to extend the life of our existing Fording River Operations to the Fording River Extension Project, or FRO-X. From our engagement activities, it was clear that the previous “Castle” Project name was leading to some confusion. The Fording River Extension (FRO-X) name will help to more clearly and accurately convey the nature of this project as an extension of the existing operation and not a new or separate operation. We have informed the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) and the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) of this change. 

The Fording River Extension Project represents an opportunity to secure the existing social and economic benefits from the Fording River Operations long term, integrating best practices for environmental protection. As always, Teck is committed to meaningful engagement about our plans for the Fording River Extension Project and is working with Indigenous nations, regulators, communities of interest and the public to understand and respond to issues and interests regarding the Project. 

What We've Heard

The following are topics which have been raised in early engagement, and will be referenced in the Detailed Project Description. We will continue to advance these topics and engage Indigenous nations, regulators, communities of interest and the public throughout the environmental assessment.


Water Quality

Regional water quality interests focused on selenium concentrations and implementation of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.  

A water quality management plan will be developed for the Project, building on existing water treatment plans. The plan will include mitigation through mine design, source control and ongoing research and development including the advancement of smaller, in-situ water treatment facilities that can be built closer to where treatment is needed. 


Fish and Fish Habitat

Fish and fish habitat health, including the westslope cutthroat trout population. Stakeholders also wanted more information on the westslope cutthroat trout population decline and Teck’s response.  

Fish and fish habitat will be an important consideration within the Project's environmental assessment. Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate project impacts and to rehabilitate the Project area at the end of mine life will be built into the project’s designs and plans. Teck established an Evaluation of Cause Team of external experts to investigate and report on the possible causes of the fish count decline. Concurrently, Teck is moving forward with recovery actions and is working with regulators and KNC to develop a fish recovery strategy.

Learn more about water quality in the Elk Valley here


Bighorn Sheep and High Elevation Grasslands

Potential effects on Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in the Elk Valley due to impacts on high elevation grasslands, which were noted as critical winter habitat for bighorn sheep. 

Teck participates in environmental initiatives and regulatory processes that focus on current and legacy conditions, including management of terrestrial effects and habitat initiatives for bighorn sheep and high elevation grasslands. We anticipate discussing the assessment of terrestrial effects with the Technical Advisory Committee established for the assessment of the Project, while acknowledging other processes working on the issue on a regional basis. 

Learn more about our regional efforts in biodiversity here


Climate Change

Carbon dioxide and methane emissions from the Project and how this could affect climate change and the provincial and federal greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Over 90% of electricity that Teck uses for it's BC operations is sourced from renewable, zero carbon power sources. We are also a member of the Canadian Carbonization Research Association and ResponsibleSteelTM, two organizations that are taking leadership roles in reducing emissions from steel production. The assessment for the Project will discuss predicted Project GHG emissions as well as potential future changes to support Teck’s 2050 carbon neutrality goals.

Learn more about climate change and our Sustainability Strategy here


Impacts on Indigenous Traditional Lands

Impacts to traditional and current land use practices for Indigenous ceremonial cultural, medicinal, harvesting and subsistence purposes, including those involving plants and vegetation, wildlife and wildlife habitat; fish and fish habitat; and specific sites of archaeological and ceremonial importance.  

Teck respects the rights, cultures, interests and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples and is committed to building strong and lasting relationships that help us understand each other’s perspectives and priorities. We are committed to meaningful consultation and engagement with Indigenous Peoples and their involvement in informing the development of regulatory applications. 

Learn more about out relationships with Indigenous Peoples here


Effects on Human Health

Potential effects on human health due to impacts on the environment, specifically on water and air quality. 

The assessment of the Project will include an evaluation of human health in consultation with the Environmental Monitoring Committee as part of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.


Loss of
Recreational Access

Potential effects on recreational lands and recreational fishing. 

Teck regularly engages with the public and with outdoor enthusiast groups to understand access concerns and access options for all Teck operations. Engagements will help us identify opportunities to manage and mitigate recreational access impacts related to the Project. We will provide future engagement opportunities on the Fording River Extension website, and hold topic specific meetings as requested and as Teck has information to share. 


Economic Stability

Potential positive effects of the Project to sustain long-term employment and support the economies of the surrounding communities. 

Teck’s Elk Valley operations contribute to the local economies in and around the Elk Valley. Teck and Fording River Operation's economic support to surrounding communities comes through employment, community investment, local purchases, rentals and a formal mine-property tax sharing pool. Teck’s Elk Valley operations employ over 4,000 people, including 1,400 at Fording River Operations. 

Learn more by reading our 2019 Economic Contribution Report here


Sustainability

Comments received were regarding Teck’s leadership in forward-thinking technologies to mitigate water quality impacts and our commitment to reclamation activities and minimizing overall environmental impacts. 

Teck is committed to responsible resource development. We are focused on operating sustainably, focused on the health and safety of our people and building strong relationships with communities. We continue to advance efforts to improve environmental performance and build public confidence. 

Learn more about our Sustainability approach here

Upcoming Detailed Project Description

Teck has been working on a Detailed Project Description for the Project, the next step required under the coordinated provincial and federal assessment processes. The Detailed Project Description builds upon the existing and accepted Initial Project Description. The Initial Project Description was accepted by the BC Environmental Assessment Office on April 9th, 2020, and by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada on October 14th, 2020. 

The Detailed Project Description provides more information on the Project than was shared in the Initial Project Description.  It is informed by technical studies that have been advanced to date and supports in refining Project components and options through the design process. The Detailed Project Description also provides additional information on how feedback collected in the Early Engagement Phase has been used to inform this stage of the process, as well as how the Summary of Engagement (provincial), and Statement of Issues (federal) has been addressed. The intent of the Detailed Project Description is to provide enough information on the current understanding of the Project to inform the BC EA Readiness Decision and federal Notice of Determination. It is planned that information will also be provided to inform Process Planning, which sets the scope, methods and application information requirements for the Environmental Assessment. 

Chauncey Bridge Project Underway

The Chauncey Bridge project, adjacent to FRO-X, now enables fish passage to more than ten kilometers of upper Chauncey Creek for spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat. The bridge replaces a series of culverts that did not allow for fish passage to the area. The Chauncey Bridge project was deemed a highest priority fish habitat project by regulators and the Ktunaxa Nation Council.  

Surveys on fish spawning, invasive plants, and rare and endangered plants were conducted prior to construction to ensure the project would meet compliance with permits. As part of the project’s operational objectives, in-stream activities were completed during the most appropriate time for fish in September. Additionally, all disturbed areas around the worksite were reclaimed and seeded with a native grass blend.  

Although fish passage has been achieved, there is remaining construction (bridge foundations, bridge installation and paving) for this project that has been paused due to winter weather. The project is estimated to be fully completed by August 2021.


Meet Christina Small, Lead Terrestrial Cumulative Effects




Christina is a Professional Agrologist (PAg) and a certified Environmental Professional (EP), with a Master’s degree in Geoenvironmental Engineering. Her role is focused on developing Teck’s approach to managing cumulative effects on terrestrial biodiversity.  Terrestrial cumulative effects are inherently linked to Teck’s Sustainability Strategy and Commitment to Biodiversity. Christina’s role ensures the Project is aligned with Teck’s overall approach to managing terrestrial cumulative effects.

“My goal is to ensure that we have the right information on how the Fording River Extension interacts with regionally valued terrestrial ecosystems, vegetation and wildlife to inform both our assessments and mitigation planning.” 

 A key focus of our Sustainability Strategy is working to secure a net positive impact on biodiversity across our operations. Our management planning focuses on understanding cumulative effects both locally and broadly in the Elk Valley, in addition to any potential future contributions, including the Fording River Extension – from exploration, through project development and onwards to closure. We are also working on developing action plans, well in advance of the Project, to ensure that we can mitigate our potential incremental contribution to cumulative effects at both the local and regional scales. Through baseline data and engagement with relevant stakeholders we will be able to understand potential hazards and risks, and work towards reducing the Project's contribution to adverse cumulative effects through early planning and Project design.


"It is important for us to have not only the right data but also engage to incorporate expert, First Nations, and local knowledge into our models and tools to ensure that we are accurately reflecting and predicting relationships within the terrestrial environment in the Elk Valley"
- Christina Small, Lead Terrestrial Cumulative Effects, Sparwood British Columbia
Learn More About Christina's Work with Biodiversity
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 an 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. 

What do you want to learn more about? 


Get involved and make your opinion known. From regulatory process to environmental studies, let the
FRO-X 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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