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Galore Creek Mine Development Suspended

Update

Galore no more and the ‘war zones’ of feasibility studies (Financial Post)

Galore Creek was to be a decades-long mining project, the first major metal mine to be built in B.C. in more than 10 years. Its approval this spring was such a landmark for mining in B.C. that the head of the province’s exploration association declared: “There is a God. And He’s looking down favourably on mining.”

But on Monday, both northwestern B.C. and the entire mining industry were faced with the horrific prospect of returning to the bleak scene Mr. Lebel [Chair of the BC Mining Association] saw a few years ago … “It was so sudden. Every-thing’s fine one day, then you wake up the next morning and the whole economic support for this area is gone,” said Bill Adsit, president of the Tahltan Nation Development Corp., the business arm of the Tahltan Nation, on whose territory Galore was to be built.

Fully 80% of the development corporation’s work had come from Galore, and 250 Tahltan workers had worked on the project this summer, Mr. Adsit said. For many, the new mine had come at the perfect time: it was starting just as two other nearby mines, Bar-rick Gold Corp.’s Eskay Creek and Northgate Minerals Corp.’s Kemess South, were winding down, providing a fresh source of jobs.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Curtis Rattray, chairman of the Tahltan Central Council, said that in a region where employment has traditionally been seasonal and jobs ranged from hunting and guiding to working for B.C. Parks, the Galore Creek development offered his communities a significant payroll.

“What happens now is we wait and get more information,” Rattray said.

He added that the communities now have to focus on the less certain options of other proposed resource developments in the region.

Original Post

Escalating construction costs are cited for the suspension (map included in link); also here or at cbc.ca. Galore Creek is one of several mines in the developmental stages in northwestern BC, in the Highway 37 corridor. Bruce Sutherland, President and CEO of Wolf Tek Industries (Prince George?) notes the potential impacts:

It will have an impact on those of us who are trying to diversify in the wake of the slowdown in forestry. It is also concerning that first we have the Kemess decision (environmental panel advised project should not go ahead as planned) and now this. I have no doubt it will go ahead at some time, but this is having an impact on all of us who were getting involved in the bidding process for services.

Sutherland says he is also worried about the big picture, how news of this will impact investors from other parts of the world and is concerned they may think twice about mining investments in B.C. “The good news is the highway 37 corridor is still going to be electrified (provincial plan to put the corridor on the electrical grid) an there are still 4 to 6 mines that are on the go.

Galore Creek has been heralded as a major success for its productive relationship with local native people through the Tahltan Central Council.

Additional Information

From the Anchorage Daily News:

The companies, Teck Cominco and NovaGold Resources Inc., said a recent review showed much higher construction costs and a much longer construction schedule for the mine than they anticipated. The companies originally estimated the mine would cost $2 billion to build, but the cost has bloated to $5 billion, and it is not economic to build. The companies said they plan to invest more millions to come up with an alternate development plan.

From Opinion 250:

The Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Richard Neufeld says the 335 km extension of a 287 kilovolt power line that would extend power from Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake costing $400 million dollars may not proceed given the announcement Monday that the Galore Creek mine has been put on hold.

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9 Comments

  1. NW Mining Investor (a project of Rivers Without Borders) looks at coverage of Kemess North, Galore Creek, Klappan Coal Project, Ruby Creek, Tulsequah Chief, and other mining projects in B.C. 
    Recent story on Galore Creek:
    "Regional Review: Questions abound following Galore Creek’s shelving" (Dec. 04, 2007)
    and Redcorp Ventures hover barge proposal at Tulsequah Chief:
    "Redcorp Ventures’ Hoverbarge Plan Recives Unfavorable Reviews (PDF)" (Dec. 05, 2007)

    Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  2. Thanks for pointing me to this site. It is quite thorough and offers readers a real resource for information about the Galore story (and many other developments in northwestern BC).

    Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Gilles wrote:

    ID like to leave a comment

    I worked at Galore Creek
    I was also ask to leave and threaten as what I observed was a BREX affair

    I am a professional known around the world and I know and master my field of work and I tell you that as far as July first 90% of the coontractors, mining company, tunnelling company and other field of construction organization had not been PAID not one red cents in over 3 months, also lots of the things that went on there should not even of gone on no permits, nothing a BREX affair where did the money go allocated for this project? why was so many people injured and serious fatalities? why were there so many people flown to area in the glaciers to work with no site of the workplace and no one to come and retrieve them for hours some days? where were equipment flown out to sites and only buried? when they were garanteed 200 hours of use? why was there no gasoline for the equipment? why was there at times up to three days no water, poisioned food, having the Doctor fired up to 6 times because we all knew to much. There is an underlyning story here and it is big, oh yeah and to burn chemicals, spray cans into the atmosphere??? has anyone ask themselves this questions
    Please look into all of this you will descover a BREX of finance
    I am surprised there was no daeth or was there ??

    Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  4. Springfield Harrison wrote:

    In response to Gilles and to Mr. McIlwraith:

    These are very serious allegations and should not be made without substantiation.

    I have worked on the project for two years up until last fall. To my knowledge (fairly extensive) there was no resemblance to Bre-X (ore-reserve fraud), no fatalities, no buried equipment, no one left out for “days”. I have no direct knowledge of the other allegations. It is possible that there may have been problems with some aspects of the project but nothing on the scale insinuated here. The Bre-X insinuation is particularly serious and should be retracted or proven.

    Gilles’ tone, grammar, spelling and content lean more towards “sour grapes” than professional, objective criticism and do not enhance the credibility of this Blog. Who is the 6-times fired “Doctor”? There may be a story here but this dis-jointed collection of ravings hardly encourages further inquiry.

    I’m not familiar with this Blog, or blogs in general, but it would seem that some editing of the comments might be wise.

    Thank you . . . .

    Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 12:00 am | Permalink
  5. Springfield, you directed your comment in part to me, and I’m not sure why – your observations relate solely to a comment by a visitor to this site. I prefer not to censor commenters unless absolutely necessary. (And, frankly, I think you interpreted the credibility of the previous comments just fine. You say, after all, “There may be a story here but this dis-jointed collection of ravings hardly encourages further inquiry.”)

    But since you disagree with the comments, I am pleased you posted your own opinion here. I’d like to think of this blog — and many others — as a place to discuss issues like the ones brought up in recent comments. Please feel free to supplement it as you think appropriate.

    Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  6. Springfield Harrison wrote:

    Hello Mr. McIlwraith:

    Thanks for your reply. I see your point, the comments are to speak for themselves, I suppose, you are just providing the forum.

    I’m all for freedom of speech and I guess that requires us all to look at everything quite critically.

    Unfortunately, there are those who don’t have the background to know that Gilles’ comments are mostly rubbish.

    Cheers . . . .

    Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  7. CHHSP wrote:

    BRE X maybe

    I was there worked there

    A lot of illegal things went on there alot of us carried journals and diaries

    The funds were not utilized properly it was mismanaged to the max. Fund were utilized to fund another proiject

    There are alot of people and companies that have not received payment for working there

    There is a big underlying story that has not been told and it will be told. Like they say everything comes out in the wash.

    The hospital in Smithers the Doctors and nurses can tell you nightmares of illegal things that were taking place by the injuries and accidents taking place
    Oh yeah there is a big story out there.

    What looked like Tec was funding the development of Galore Creek was not at all where the funds looked like they were going, my I syuggest

    Someday all will come out and a lot of us contractors, employees and workers from Around the world that came to work on this project are awaiting to tell their story

    McIlwraith you state you worked up there for two years up to this fall? my question to you is; Where were you posted? surely not at the for front with the rest of us. When I say that there are lots of people out there waiting to tell the story, I mean hundreds of people

    BRE X maybe time will tell

    C

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  8. Thanks for the information, C. This thread has clearly provoked a response … and seems to show that some people have stories to share.

    To be clear, though, I never said I worked at Galore Creek. That was Gilles. Your questions are directed to him. Tad

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  9. Springfield Harrison wrote:

    Hello:
    Serious allegations. This stuff should come out if there’s any substance to it.

    I was in aviation so wasn’t at the working front in geology or construction although I was familiar with many aspects of the project. I may be naive but never got a feeling that anything was this seriously amiss.

    What was the other project?

    “…there are lots of people out there waiting to tell the story, I mean hundreds of people”. Odd that nothing has filtered out yet. The press would eat this up if factual.

    Out with the facts if there are any!

    Cheers . . . .

    Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] The BC Hydro line planned for Highway 37 has been put on hold in the wake of the Galore Creek mine suspension. […]

  2. […] on Kemess North Mine proposal, and the decision by Teck Cominco and NovaGold Resources Inc. to suspend construction on the Galore Creek copper-gold […]

  3. […] See also: Galore Creek Mine Development Suspended […]