Tag Archives: Teck Resources

Public meetings to discuss Kootenai watershed mining

Kootenai River
Kootenai River

Other than being a cautionary tale of the transboundary effects of coal mining, this item is not directly related to the North Fork. Still, our colleagues to the west in the Kootenai drainage have set up what sounds like some interesting public meetings involving an impressive range of stakeholders . . .

The Kootenai River Network will hold two public meetings in Northwest Montana next week to discuss coal mining operations in British Columbia’s Elk River Valley, and how they could impact Montana water quality.

The Elk River flows for about 220 miles from north to south, beginning at Elk Lake Provincial Park and flowing into the Kootenai River just north of the U.S.–Canada border. Vancouver-based Teck Coal owns five coal mines in its watershed, and environmentalists allege that their pollutants flow downstream to Montana.

Next week’s meetings, which will take place in Kalispell and Eureka with the same content, format, and agenda, will bring together government and industry speakers to discuss these concerns.

Read more . . .

Dave Hadden: Teck hasn’t gotten the job done

Lake Koocanusa
Lake Koocanusa

Dave Hadden’s recent op-ed in the Flathead Beacon is yet another reminder of why we really don’t want open pit coal mining in the transboundary Flathead Drainage . . .

The Beacon’s June 20 story detailing Teck Coal’s selenium pollution of Lake Koocanusa was barely off the presses when the company had responded with a letter to the editor (June 25) denying that its water treatment plant is failing. Either the Beacon got its facts wrong, or Teck’s conveying false facts. Which one has the long nose?

This is what Teck said in its letter to the editor: “The water treatment facility at our Line Creek Operations is operating and successfully achieving design specifications for reducing selenium and nitrate concentrations in treated water.”

This is what Teck’s Director of Environmental Performance said recently: “We [Teck] clearly and fully violated the intent of the facility, but we have met the requirements of the permit.”

Translation (and just as claimed in the Beacon article) Teck’s water treatment plant is releasing less selenium, but a chemical variety of selenium that is up to 200 times more available for absorption by aquatic organisms. This means that the water treatment plant has worsened the selenium pollution problem.

It’s hard to figure why Teck continues to claim it has succeeded when it has failed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked in the 1800s that, “The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” Teck hasn’t gotten the job done. It hasn’t cleaned up the Elk River, its pollution continues to flow across the border, it continues to mine coal, and the province of British Columbia has rewarded the company for not succeeding by not revoking permits for four new big mines.

At this point in time Montanans can be assured that we’re the settling pond for Teck’s mining in the Kootenai watershed as a consequence of BC inadequate and broken mine evaluation, permitting, and enforcement process.

Dave Hadden, director
Headwaters Montana

Mine effluent water treatment failure in B.C. raises more downstream concerns

Kootenai River
Kootenai River

Yet another object lesson on why it is so important to protect the transboundary Flathead Watershed . . .

As British Columbia’s downstream neighbor, Montana has long been concerned about mining pollution spilling across the international border and into its world-class watersheds — fears that a growing body of research and evidence confirms are well founded.

Most recently, conservation groups and scientists on both sides of the border have renewed their calls for Teck Resources to halt new coal mines in the Elk River Valley, a step they say gained urgency when an experimental water treatment facility designed to stem the flow of a mining contaminant called selenium was taken offline because it was releasing an even more biologically toxic form of the heavy metal.

The trouble brewing in the Elk River is equally worrisome for Montana, where the upstream waterways of British Columbia flow into two shared bodies of water straddling the international boundary — Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River.

Read more . . .

Conservation groups ask Canadian government to halt proposed mines in Elk Valley drainage

Conditions in the Elk Valley, a little ways to the west, serve as a reminder of why it is so important to fight extractive industry in the transboundary Flathead watershed. . . .

Last week the Canadian government charged Teck Resources with three environmental violations after 74 fish were killed near the mining company’s treatment facility in British Columbia’s Elk Valley north of Montana, elevating concerns over contaminants entering transboundary waterways.

The fish were found dead in late 2014 and an investigation determined they died from nitrite poisoning and low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. The deaths occurred near one of Teck’s open-pit coal mines and treatment facility.

The charges followed an investigation by the company.

Read more . . .

Baucus praises Teck Resources’ conservation efforts near North Fork

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus had nice things to say about Teck Resources’ conservation efforts in the Canadian Flathead and continued his push to pass the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .

Last week Canadian mining giant Teck Resources announced its plans to purchase nearly 28 square miles of private land north of Glacier National Park to protect fish and wildlife habitat.

The deal surfaced as Montana’s representatives on Capitol Hill keep pushing for federal legislation formally protecting the Flathead watershed, primarily the North Fork Flathead River basin.

In 2010, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell signed a memorandum of understanding that prohibited new energy development on the North Fork, agreeing to bar mining, oil and gas development and coalbed gas extraction in B.C.’s portion of the Flathead Valley. The B.C. government in 2011 passed the Flathead Watershed Conservation Act, which bans mining and oil and gas activity in the B.C. Flathead.

Actual legislation supporting the 2010 agreement has yet to emerge on the U.S. side though.

Read more . . .

Teck purchases three land parcels for conservation in B.C.’s Flathead River valley

Some good news from British Columbia: Teck Resources bought up a sizable amount of land (almost 28 square miles) in southeast British Columbia for conservation purposes, most of it in the Flathead River drainage. The Vancouver Sun has the story, including a map . . .

Mining giant Teck Resources will spend $19 million to buy thousands of hectares of land in southeast British Columbia for conservation, the company announced Thursday.

The company said it purchased more than 7,000 hectares in the Elk and Flathead river valleys from Tembec Inc., not for mining but to preserve wildlife and fish habitat. “While not amenable to mining, the lands have the potential to be used for conservation purposes,” the company announced.

Company president Don Lindsay said Teck will work with area First Nations and conservation groups to ensure the protection of key wildlife and fish habitat.

Read more . . .

Further reading: “Flathead Wild Congratulate Teck on Land Purchase”

And more: “Canadian Mining Giant to Buy Land North of Glacier Park for Conservation”