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Mining WEEK

May 11 - MAY 17, 2014

141A Aspen, Sparwood, BC V0B 2G0 (250) 425-2423

We thank Teck Coal and the various companies associated with the Elk Valley mining industry for their ongoing support of the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce and our local business community.


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Celebrating Mining Week The importance of mining to Canada’s economy By Angela Treharne


irst celebrated in 1996, N a t i o n a l Mining Week recognizes the importance of the Canadian mining industry to the economic development of Canada. It is a chance to celebrate the important role that mining plays in the lives of Canadians. It is hard to imagine a life without minerals and metals — every day, we all use and rely on products made from them. Mining takes place in almost every province and territory in Canada — creating jobs and business opportunities, and supporting industries and workers from rural, remote and Aboriginal communities to our large urban centres. British Columbia’s

mining and mineral exploration industry has a rich history and a promising future. B.C. has been one of the world’s major mining regions since the mid1800s and to this day is a key international player. 

It is a chance to celebrate the important role that mining plays in the lives of Canadians. Encompassing the largest part of the Canadian Cordillera, a mountain belt rich in minerals and coal, B.C. produces and exports a significant amount of copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc,

molybdenum, coal and industrial minerals every year. Historically, B.C.’s vast mineral resources have contributed extensively to the province’s growth and development. The Hudson’s Bay Company first started producing coal on Vancouver Island in the 1840s, and the discovery of gold along the Fraser River in the 1850s sparked a major gold rush, which was ultimately responsible for the settlement of many parts of that region.  As B.C.’s population increased, the provincial infrastructure improved, and miners were able to explore more and more of the province’s terrain, leading to many new mineral deposit discoveries.

Throughout the century following the Fraser River Gold Rush, most mining activities in British

Teck photo

Columbia took place underground. But in the early 1960s, the feasibility of open-pit production increased

tremendously, and as a result, several huge copper mines opened, including Highland Valley Copper—

the largest open-pit operation in all of North America, and, of course, the coal mines here in the Elk Valley.

Dedicated to being the #1 Equipment and Solutions Provider for the Mining, Forestry, Construction, and Utility Industries. These industries are serviced by our factory and apprenticeship trained trades people who are supported through fully equipped SMS Equipment shops and service vehicle fleets. Highly qualified and dedicated people to support your productivity.

#1 Inata Road • Elkford, BC V0B 1H0 Elkford Branch: 1


THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014 C3

Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

Looking for long lost locomotives By John Kinnear


ometimes in-depth research can take a writer off on a tangent that proves to be most enlightening. Digging deeper into a story can lead to some fascinating revelations and more often than not one winds up going in a different direction. Such is the case that started with an anecdote I found in the 1980 commemorative booklet entitled: “Hillcrest-Bellevue Early Days”, a marvelous 35 page trip into early Hillcrest, Alberta history. Amongst the personal recollections in this souvenir offering I found a piece entitled: “It Was Royal Coal”, a brief story about how Hillcrest was the best steam coal available in North America and claiming it was placed at strategic points along the CPR’s rugged mountain runs, “especially through the steep grades in the Rockies.” The story went on to tell of the famous 1935 journey of the Royal Scot train across Canada and how it ran into troubles when it ran out of specially shipped Welsh coal in the mountains. It goes on to say that CPR officials rushed boxcars of Hillcrest coal to the Royal Scot whereupon it: “chugged through the grueling grades of the Rockies without further trouble—fired by Hillcrest

Coal”. Digging deeper I explored the story of how the Scottish high speed train and eight of its cars were loaded onto a boat called the Beaversdale at Tilsbury Dock in London and offloaded at Montreal. It then sped to Chicago to be part of the “Century of Progress Exposition” which opened there in May of 1933. There were dozens of whistle stops where huge crowds checked out this Scottish speedster. Because it had proved so popular it was decided to take the Scot west to Las Vegas and then north to Vancouver and across Canada instead of returning to Montreal to reverse its journey. When its journey was over, three million people had visited the train on its 11, 000 mile circuit. On the net I found a very detailed 11 page document on its trip published by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association in 1965. It retraced the Royal Scot from England to Montreal, through the States and back again to Montreal but nowhere did it mention the Hillcrest coal rescue. While it is entirely possible that Hillcrest coal was stockpiled in the mountains, according to the CRHA document the Royal Scot passed through the mountains without any problems. While it was generally accepted that Hillcrest coal was one of the finest steam coals there was at the time, I have not been able to find any further reference to this Hillcrest coal rescue. As I researched even deeper I found an ad in a Spokane paper that announced that Hillcrest Steam Coal

Old Hillcrest #5 locomotive pre restoration, circa 1914.

was: “The King Pin of the Bunch. The finest quality steam coal mined in Canada.” It went on to say that this particular supplier was the exclusive agent for it. Most people think coal was just coal but back then there were dozens of suppliers competing for sales and each product had it own desirable qualities. As I dug even deeper into the net a pdf document popped up in my Google searches which indicated that the Western Development Museum (WDM) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was offering a Steam Locomotive Operation Training Course in 2013. What was written in their course

Salute to all the Mines in the Elk Valley K&K

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Providing Transportation Services to and from the US ~ 7 Days a Week Daily Hot Shot and LTL Service to the Area Coal Mines Local supplier of: Blasting Sand, Water Conditioner Salt, Pool Salt, Floordry, Wood Pellets & Wood Pellet Stoves

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offer I had to reread several times before I let myself believe it. It said: “This class is for people interested in operating the Vulcan steam locomotive at the Moose Jaw WDM. The Vulcan is the only operating steam locomotive in Saskatchewan. The Vulcan narrow-gauge 0-4-0 engine was manufactured in 1914 by Vulcan Iron Works in Pennsylvania, USA for Hillcrest Collieries in southern Alberta.” Then it hit me. The amazing fact that one of the two original narrow gauge locomotives used at the old Hillcrest Collieries was still around and running!

Continued on page C4


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

250-425-6413 Sparwood, B.C.

Complete Radiator Service Industrial Truck & Heavy Duty Equipment

Looking for long lost locomotives


Serving the Mining & Logging Industry since 1982


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From the staff and management at

Shaw’s Enterprises Ltd. in Sparwood, B.C.

WITH LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU IN: • Sparwood • Cranbrook • Kamloops • Nisku • Calgary

Rescued Hillcrest loco at Moose Jaw renamed Shortline 101.  Photo provided by Western Development Museum Continued from page C3

I rattled off an email to the WDM in Saskatoon to their conservation curator and sure enough old #5 (renamed Shortline 101) had been acquired in 1958; was recently completely rebuilt from the boiler up and was now running every summer season in Moose Jaw hauling visitors around their WDM Moose Jaw museum. Another researcher sent me a 1999 article done on the train’s later history. It turns out that after Hillcrest closed down in 1939 old #5 wound up being run at a sodium sulphate mine at a salt lake near Alsask, Saskatchewan until 1958 when it was donated to the WDM. According to the article a respected Saskatchewan author by the name of Bill Wardill had done some digging of his own. In the National Archives

in Ottawa he found a 1943 letter from the salt mine’s owner to the then Federal Deputy Minister of Labour Arthur MacNamara that stated: “It occurs to us that there is a considerable untapped reservoir of labour in the interned Japanese in this country.” British Columbia officials were contacted by MacNamara’s office and the next thing you know Kusada Katsutaro, Maruno Hiroshi and six other Japanese internees were living in a military type barracks at Alsask. They laid the tracks for the narrow gauge rail line for old #5 between the alkali lake and the dehydration plant and then worked there mining the Glauber’s salts. While official records suggest they sought employment there Wardill thought otherwise. In an essay I dug up entitled “Exiled

to a Salt Mine” Bill stated: “It is difficult to believe their presence on the treeless shore of an isolated salt lake represented any real freedom of choice.” In the process of rooting around in a lot of small gauge locomotive information I accidentally came across the fact that Heritage Park in Calgary has not one but two locomotives that came from Fernie. The first is an old 1909 air loco that started out in Quebec, then Canmore Mines and lastly worked for the Crowsnest Pass Coal Company at their Michel operation. The second was surprise, surprise, a saddle tank type 0-4-0 regular gauge ( 4 feet 8 1/2 inch) engine almost exactly like Shortline 101. It dates to 1902 and was also built by the Vulcan Iron Works. Vulcan made hundreds and hundreds of these

City Hall 501-3rd Ave., Box 190 Fernie, BC V0B 1M0

Celebrating our mining heritage From the mayor, council and staff The City of Fernie

We recognize the support that the mines provide to our Elk Valley communities.

small locomotives and they were shipped everywhere in the world to places like Australia, Burma, China, South America or anywhere at the turn of the 20th Century where industrialization was starting to take off. Digging even deeper into locomotive records, which are a world unto themselves, I found yet another former Crows Nest Pass Coal Company 0-4-0 locomotive at the BC Forestry Discovery Centre in Duncan. It was purchased by the CNPCC in 1920, finished up service at Elk River Collieries in 1958, was rescued then from being scrapped and eventually found a home at the Duncan Discovery Centre. It is a 12 ton 36 inch gauge saddle tank built in 1900 and affectionately referred to as Susie in honour of a former conductor. As I mentioned research can take one on the most amazing journey and for me this one took me from Scotland to Chicago to Spokane then Moose Jaw and Alsask, Saskatchewan and finally on to Calgary, Duncan, BC and in the end I wound up in Fernie at Rotary Park. There on its east perimeter is a rather beaten up 0-4-0T, bereft of its name plate with a huge coke oven larry (hopper car) attached to her. Research tells me she is number 2438 built in 1901 by H.K. Porter in Pittsburgh. Porter built over 8,000 light duty locomotives from 1866 till 1950. So it seems that all history fits together in the end; you just have to keep connecting the dots. Editor’s note: The numbers 0-4-0 refers to a locomotive’s wheel configuration. In the case of 0-4-0 it means there are no wheels under the cow catcher (pilot), 4 drive wheels and no wheels under the cab. BC’s famous Royal Hudson 2816 is a 4-6-4.   

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014 C5

Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

Day of Mourning ceremony honours fallen workers

The Day of Mourning was established in 1984 as a day to remember those injured or killed in the mines. By Nicole Obre and Angela Treharne


Work Safe BC Safety Inspector Jeff McKay. 

Photo by Nicole Obre

cross Canada, April 28 has been designated the Day of Mourning, as a day for workers, families, employers, and others to remember lives lost in the workplace and to resolve to prevent future tragedies. The United Steelworkers Local 9436, representing the Teck, Elkview Operations, hold a special public Elk Valley service to recognize workplace injury and death and to honour the workers who have lost their lives or become disabled following a workplace accident. This year Sparwood hosted the annual Day of Mourning ceremony in Centennial Square on Monday afternoon, recognizing workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. The ceremony featured a number of speakers, including Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko, Work Safe BC Safety Inspector Jeff McKay, United Steelworkers local 9346 President Alex Hanson, and United Steelworkers local 7284 President Nick Howard. Originally known as Workers’ Memorial Day and created by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28 an annual day of remembrance in 1985. The day became a national observance with the passing of the Workers Mourning Day Act in December 1990, making April 28, 1991 the first official National Day of Mourning for those killed or injured in the workplace. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade. Each year on April 28 the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill flies at half-mast. Workers light candles, don ribbons and black armbands and observe moments of silence. Businesses are asked to participate by declaring a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries. As much as this is a day to remember the deceased, it is also a call to protect the living.

We salute Teck Coal for their operations and continued community support

Did you know?

Mining Facts

Direct jobs in the Elk Valley: 3500 Worksafe B.C. statistics show that the mining industry is the safest heavy industry in BC.

is proud to support the mining industry in the Elk Valley 585 Michel Creek Sparwood, BC 1 800-663-2705

Coal represents a third of the industrial traffic at the Port of Vancouver, the largest port in Canada. Mining is one of the highest paid industrial sectors nationwide. The coal stocks of southern British Columbia and Alberta are among the richest in Canada. Major minerals produced in BC (as a % of Canada’s production): Coal (66%); Copper (40%); Silver (50%); Gold, Lead, Molybdenum & Zinc. Canada is one of the worlds leading mining countries.

Supporting the Mining and Exploration Community 250-464-9559 •


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bits &


of the mining industry By Angela Treharne

Finning International Inc. Finning International Inc., is the world’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealer. The company sells, rents and provides customer support services for Caterpillar equipment and engines at Teck. They employ around 140 people in the Elk Valley, from journeyman mechanics, welders, parts people, sales people and apprentices. Less than five per cent of employees commute from outside the Valley. “Our first hope is to employ and develop people that are already here, and a large proportion of our employees are actually born and raised in the valley,” said Sparwood branch manager, Tom Tobin. “We value our community involvement, from employing people to sponsoring

community events like Griz Days and rodeos, and the mine rescue competition.”

Joy Global Joy Global supplies Teck with essential equipment and support for open pit mining operations. They are the manufacturer and direct service provider of P&H electric rope shovels and Letourneau rubber tired loaders. These machines are the “mission critical” pieces of loading equipment that the local mines use in their production process. They dig the waste rock and coal and load this material into the haul trucks to be transported either to the waste dumps or to the plant for further processing. Joy Global in Sparwood currently employ 61 people. The majority are tradesmen; welders, electricians and heavy duty mechanics. Their business is growing and they will be building a new facility in Sparwood

to consolidate their mechanical, welding, warehousing and administrative functions under one roof. Joy Global is a proud supporter of Coal Miner Days in Sparwood, Griz Days in Fernie among other small community events and programs. They won third prize in the business category in last year’s Coal Miner Days Parade. They also regularly hold raffles at Christmas parties and donate the proceeds to a variety of local charities. Their 2013 Christmas party raffle generated over $1,000 which was donated to the Elkford and Sparwood food banks and Toys for Tots.

SMS Equipment SMS Equipment in Elkford holds a unique position in the industry as a onestop supplier of the most complete range of equipment. They offer only worldrenowned brand names as well as a select range of production attachments for the mining industry. They now are one of the largest Komatsu dealers in the world with a network of business centres across Canada.

Cummins Western Canada Cummins Western Canada in Sparwood is a field-service branch with a total of 29 employees. The branch is responsible for commissioning and servicing the highhorsepower diesel engines that power large equipment—primarily haul trucks— at all five of the coal mines owned by Teck in the Elk Valley. To meet the growing demands of the mining industry, branch manager Stephen

Jarvis said there are plans to expand the branch in Sparwood. He said within two years, it will become a complete service branch with two bays. That means the branch will also be hiring some additional employees.

Rayco Steel

Rayco Steel is a family owned and operated local business with a 17,000 sq. ft. fabrication shop in Sparwood. They have been supplying the mines and industry since 1978. “We have strong experience in structural steel fabrication, heavy plate work, maintenance and equipment upgrades at all five of the local mines, said manager Brett Ray. “We are uniquely qualified to handle almost any situation that arises. Our services have out of necessity become quite diversified. This has lent itself to a high degree of flexibility which makes a quick response team a great asset to the local coal mining industry as they try to maximize production.” In addition to the shop facilities Rayco maintain 12 fully equipped welding rigs, 10 service trucks, flat-deck delivery trucks, 50 and 32 ton cranes (c/w trailers),manlifts, scissorlifts and tele-handlers. Their 68 employees provide welding, fabrication, millwright, heavy duty mechanic, light vehicle mechanic, machining, CNC Plasma cutting, computerized detailing, and engineering services as well as onsite services on a contract and cost plus basis including plant maintenance and renovations, heavy equipment repair, steel erection, piping fabrication and installation. Continued on page C7


Finning Sparwood | 250-425-6282

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014 C7

Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

Bits &


of the mining industry Continued from page C6

Manitoulin Transport Manitoulin Transport offers a wide range of trucking services to the mines. Their Sparwood branch offers five main services to Teck and the five mines. They operate a daily pick up and delivery to each of the mine sites, supplying them with the parts they need to operate. They also offer a tanker service, hauling fluids, a flat deck for moving heavy equipment and also a multi axle trailer for specialized moving of very large pieces of equipment. The company employs just under 50 employees, including drivers, maintenance and dispatch staff. Manitoulin took over the business in 2006. “The business has been transferred from company to company over the years, but staff have been retained and we have a 40-year employee here,” said Terminal Manager Brad Wilson. “Our plan over the next few years is to grow our heavy haul business.”

Mountain Mechanical Services Mountain Mechanical Services in Sparwood provide parts and service to all the support equipment in and around the mines. That includes a long list of equipment from air compressors to zoom booms. They provide extensive support to all other major mine contractors such as Finning, Joy Global, Cummins, SMS, Newalta and Arctic Arrow by maintaining their fleet of service vehicles.

They are also dealers or distributors for many major products used in the mines such as Navistar International trucks and busses, pressure washers, generators and water pumps. They have 29 employees in three locations (Sparwood, Elkford and Cranbrook), 14 of which are mechanics. Manager Kevin Musil is proud to employ locals. “All employees live in and support the communities where they work,” he said. “As a local company we continuously contribute financially to most community groups and organizations.” Short term plans for the company are to continue to expand sales and service, especially with their Navistar International line.

MDG Contracting Services MDG Contracting Services Inc. is a full service general contractor that sees many of Teck’s projects at Fording River through, from pre construction to building. MDG offers design/build, general contracting and construction management services. The company was formed in 2008, and launched with a design/ build project of 82 apartment style condos for Teck in Elkford. The project value exceeded $20 million. This project was designed to meet the demand of Teck Coal’s staff housing requirements in the area. “We worked on all aspects of that job from design and engineering to finishing,” said founder and President, Ron Mason. “It was extremely rewarding.” Since completing the condos in early 2010, MDG has maintained a full-time crew in a con­ struc­ tion management capacity at Teck’s Fording River and Greenhills operations. “The relationship has allowed us to get some strong volume under our belts,” Mason said. MDG uses local subcontractors, suppliers and workers whenever possible.

Snow Valley Cooling and Heating Inc. Snow Valley Cooling and Heating Inc. was established in 2004. Snow Valley’s main focus is HVAC, air filtration and

pressurization service, repair and installation in Mining and Industrial equipment and buildings. Employing licensed refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, gas fitters, auto mechanics, sheet metal mechanics, mobile refrigeration mechanics and heavy duty mechanics, they are well equipped to provide excellent service and repair to all makes and models of mobile and stationary HVAC units.


Newalta provides waste management services to the mines. “We push beyond conventional thinking about waste, finding solutions that transform it into new products that will contribute to our customer’s bottom line and reduce the environmental footprint. Where by-product recovery isn’t possible, we find ways to reduce the production of waste at the source.”


Maxam manufactures and delivers explosives to the mine borehole, where explosives are used to break waste rock to expose coal. Maxam has around 65 employees in the Elk Valley, from bulk truck operators, explosives manufacturing operators, technical engineers, site managers and safety and compliance managers to admin personnel. All have different skill sets that allow Maxam to provide a quality product and service to Teck. Their office in Sparwood stations 11 employees who provide support to their five sites at the mines. Regional manager, Gerry LeBlanc, said the company is always looking to grow and expand into other projectsthat require the use of explosives. “There are a number of new mining projects on the table in Western Canada that Maxam is watching,” he said. “Another large project is a pipeline project in British Columbia that will start this spring. The pipeline will go through the Rocky Mountains and will require blasting and removing rock to lay out the pipeline.” Continued on page C8

Mining keeps communities moving Our mines produce more than just minerals. They support families, help to build communities and foster economic growth. Mining has been at the heart of Elk Valley life since the 1890s. Today, Teck’s five steelmaking coal mines employ over 4,000 men and women and inject almost $1 billion into the local economy each year. To learn more, visit


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bits &

Proud supporters of the local area mining industry! *Hotel * Restaurant * Lounge *Banquet & Meeting Facilities * Contractors Welcome! 102 Red Cedar Dr Sparwood 250-425-2003

The Clean Power Leader of Elk Valley Mining


of the mining industry Continued from page C7

Nohels Group The Nohels Group provides the mine with the best possible specialty heavy mining equipment from 60 ton excavators, to tandem dump trucks and water trucks. The origin of Nohels Group dates back to the early 1960’s. Originally the focus was on logging in the Elk Valley region. During the ensuing years the focus in the valley changed to coal mining and Nohels Group’s primary focus changed to assisting the mining operations. Nohels Group became part of Cordy Oilfield Services Inc. (Cordy)(TSX-V CKK) in 2006. As a public company, Cordy provides Nohels Group with the capital resources, financial expertise, business infrastructure, safety systems and technology required to help its customers’ achieve their goals.

Shaw’s Enterprises Shaw’s Enterprises supplies quality equipment to the mines, including suspension cables, drag chains, fire and safety equipment and shovel and drill parts. Shaw’s has been supplying quality products since the 1950’s and has developed an extensive distribution network firmly established throughout Western Canada; Shaw’s is committed to selling quality products world wide. By developing key manufacturer/supplier relationships, Shaw’s has been able to provide its customers with quality products and an industry best in-stock service.

Equipment Sales and Service Limited

Every solution. Every time. 731 Douglas Fir Rd, Sparwood • 250-425-0522

We are Proud to Support the Mining Industry ~ Specializing in all your radiator and crane needs ~

Equipment Sales and Service Limited is the authorized dealer for many of today’s most respected heavy equipment brands in the mining industry, and is also renowned as Canada’s largest supplier of aftermarket equipment parts and as an experienced specialist in undercarriage service. Equipment Sales & Service was founded in 1946, ranking it with Canada’s oldest and most established equipment companies. Now in its third generation as a private family-owned business, ESS retains the flexibility to respond to

No Job is Too Big or Too Small! • Mesabi • Cat Folding Cores • Steel Cores • Oil Coolers • Heat Exchangers • Re Cores

5 Front Street, Elkford, BC 250-865-4445

• Boom Truck Services • 30T - 50T HL

customer needs quickly, and to keep pace with our rapidly changing global economy. ESS takes pride in delivering a personal standard of service to customers based on our traditional values of hard work, integrity and shared responsibility. In addition to sales of heavy equipment, ESS is one of Canada’s largest national service providers, supporting all makes of machinery with factorytrained service technicians and the nation’s largest inventory of OEM, wear parts and aftermarket parts. Our commitment to customer service is matched by our commitment to ESS employees. Our safety policy and staff training programs are designed to keep ESS personnel healthy, productive and at the top of the equipment service professions.

Columbia Industries

For over 60 years Columbia Industries has continuously moved innovation forward with their custom designs and superior fabrication. We pride ourselves in our commitment to our customers, our products and our people. Columbia specializes in custom designs & manufacturing of Tippers for the Solid Waste, Recycling, Agriculture, Mining, and Paper By-products. Columbia is also known globally for their custom designs of Oil Drilling Rig Moving & Walking systems, Pipe Handlers, Camp Trailers, Axles, Suspensions and Wheel Systems for the Oil & Gas industry. As a company we pursue every opportunity to design, fabricate, and install products with the most important characteristics: safety, durability, reliability, and value. It is our top priority to provide solutions for our customers in every industry we serve.

Black Gold Coach Lines

Black Gold Coach Lines is a coach company based in Sparwood that manages and supplies drivers and maintains a fleet of coaches to the mines. Employing 45 people from the manager and office staff to mechanics, cleaners and drivers, the company busses Teck employees to and from work to three mine sites in their 18 buses. They also do maintenance work at all five of Teck’s mine sites. They have been operating for 20 years in the valley and Bus Shop Manager, Tim Speager, said they have plans to continue to grow within the Teck community to meet their needs.

Member of the MSCCA

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014 C9

Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

Coal processing By Angela Treharne


urface mining is the form of coal mining used in the Elk Valley because the coal belt is not far under the ground. Giant machines like bulldozers, bucket excavators, and large trucks remove the topsoil and rocks to expose large beds of coal which need to be dug out. Explosives are first used in order to break through the surface, or overburden, of the mining area. Blasting for coal is an integral part of the mine operations. Elkview and Fording River have their own explosives plant to supply product to the rest of the mines in the valley. As in all mining operations, many people are involved to ensure that it is conducted safely. There are four electric drills. The drills make holes 34 cm in diameter that are 17 m deep, and are able to drill 30 to 60 cm per minute. The drill holes are loaded with explosives and then blasted. The holes are placed in a surveyed pattern of approximately 9 m by 10.4 m. There are 250 to 400 holes per blast. The holes with water in them are lined with plastic to keep the powder dry. The explosives are made up of 94 per cent ammonium nitrate and 6 per cent diesel. Blasts are done 3 to 4 times per week, equaling 150 to 200 times per year. The cost per hole is about $175, making blasting the third largest expense after wages and fuel. A shovel and truck operation is used to remove overburden and coal. The overburden is first drilled and then blasted. After the blast, the overburden is taken to the one of the numerous dumps. The coal is either taken to the pit hopper where it is transported by an overland conveyor belt to the breaker

station, or it is taken to the breaker station directly. It may also be put to stockpile for later use. At the breaker station, the coal is separated from the rock using a rotary drum. The rotary drum has 2 inch holes in it. The coal breaks up and falls through the holes. Because the rock is harder it does not break up and flows out the end. This is the first stage of separation. From there, the coal is put on the raw coal belt that is over a metre wide and travels through a tunnel in the mountain for 1.5 km to the preparation plant. Here, clean coal is further cleaned by means of heavy media separation, cyclone classification, and froth flotation. Currently, 30,000 tonnes of raw coal goes through the plant every operating day. This results in approximately 20,000 tonnes of clean coal and 10,000 tonnes of reject. To expose one tonne of clean coal, between eight and nine cubic meters of waste rock is moved. In 24 hours, workers can remove 317,000 tonnes of rock and 24,000 tonnes of raw coal. This means that in one year, they mine 116 million tonnes of rock and 8.8 million

“To expose one tonne of clean coal, between eight and nine cubic meters of waste rock is moved.“ tonnes of raw coal which produces about 5.2 million tonnes of coking coal once it has been cleaned in the processing plant. In the processing plant, coal is sorted by size and then cleaned. After washing, the coal is conveyed to the dryer to reduce the moisture content. The steam that comes out of the dryers is mostly water with a few particles in it. On top of the district building in Sparwood is a monitor that measures the amount of dust in the air. The coal comes in with 25 per cent ash content and leaves with a 9.5 per cent ash content. 30 per cent of the

feed to the plant is rejected and placed in waste piles called coarse coal reject or tailing impoundments. After the coal goes through the dryer, it goes to the clean coal silos. Each silo can hold 12,500 tonnes of clean coal. From the clean coal silos, the coal is loaded onto the trains using a frontend/backend system. The train cars are loaded directly under the silos. Each train has 115 to 124 cars and each car can hold about 107 tonnes of coal. Elkview’s loop track limits the length of a train which can be loaded, in order to allow the front end to pass the back end.

Open 7 days a week

651 Douglas Fir Road Sparwood BC V0B 2G0 250-425-2077

After the coal is loaded onto the cars, the cars stop at the spray shack. Here they are topped with a layer of tackifier to prevent dusting during travel. On average, about five trains full of coal leave the Elk Valley mines each day before coming back empty. The round trip takes about 80 hours. Teck's mines in the Elk Valley share a fleet of about 38 trains, carrying the coal across BC to Vancouver where it is shipped to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and Turkey.

No. 2 Manitou Rd • 250-423-4627

Proud to support mining in the Elk Valley

Proud to support the mining community!

Marian B. Gravelle Notary Public 1-800-668-7729

2 2200 Balmer Dr, Elkford, BC (250) 865-2327

We are proud supporters of mining in the Elk Valley

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Mon to Fri 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Sat 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Sun 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Overwaitea Foods Sparwood proudly supports Mining Week and our communities! Thank you all for shopping local

1492 HWY #3 Fernie, BC

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2-101 Red Cedar Dr., Sparwood ~ 250-425-6489


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mining Games Elkford

Mining Community Elkford, BC

Word Scramble Elkford Story Scramble

Activity Book

Name _________________

Unscramble the letters in the left column to make a word in the blanks on the right.

1. nemi 2. nimucomty 3. amp 4. drusonai 5. gleend 6. hosloc 7. danesnotes 8. gierneen 9. holevs 10. droflek 11. tointfrop 12. stoinmaun 13. elest 14. loac 15. sloifs 16. oplexre 17. tlanp 18. rifend 19. mailan 20. tytricleeci 21. menect 22. lafe 23. kroc 24. spawm 25. rayles 26. gikbin

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Colour the HAUL TRUCK Mining Community Elkford, BC Activity Book

Name ______________________

A Dinosaur That Roamed the Elk Valley


1. mine, 2. community, 3. map, 4. dinosaur, 5. legend, 6. school, 7. sandstone, 8. engineer, 9. shovel, 10. Elkford, 11. footprint,12. mountains, 13. steel, 14. coal, 15. fossil, 16. explore, 17. plant, 18. friend, 19. animal, 20. electricity, 21. cement, 22. leaf, 23. rock, 24. swamp, 25. layers, 26. biking


MineralsEd is non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to encouraging geoscience, mining and mineral resources education in school. Our mission is to support BC teachers and their students with relevant, comprehensive earth science and mining educational resources and learning opportunities.

Design a

Dino! Dinosaur’s Name:

is non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to encouraging ng and mineral resources education in school. Our mission is to support their students with relevant, comprehensive earth science and mining Proud supporters of Mining educational resources and learning opportunities.

___________________ 14

in the Elk Valley

Come read about mining history at the Sparwood Public Library Fernie Mountain Lodge 1622 7 Ave, Fernie


We are open:

10 am - 8 pm Tuesday and Thursday, 10 am - 5 pm Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. We are closed Monday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays!

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014 C11

Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

About Elk Valley area coal mines Coal Mountain

Fording River



Line Creek

26.9 million

Teck’s Coal Mountain operation is located 30 kilometres southeast of Sparwood in southeastern British Columbia. Coal mined at Coal mountain is used to produce steel. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant are approximately 2.7 and 3.5 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. Proven and probable reserves at Coal Mountain are projected to support mining at current planned production rates for a further six years.

Teck’s Greenhills operation is located eight kilometres northeast of the community of Elkford, in southeastern British Columbia. Greenhills is operated under a joint venture agreement among Teck, POSCO Canada Limited (“POSCAN”) and POSCAN’s parent, POSCO. Pursuant to the agreement, Teck has an 80 per cent interest in the joint venture while POSCAN has a 20 per cent interest. Coal mined at Greenhills is used to produce steel. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant (on a 100% basis) are 5.2 and 5.2 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. Proven and probable reserves at Greenhills are projected to support mining at current planned production rates for a further 14 years.

Teck’s Fording River operation is located 29 kilometres northeast of the community of Elkford, in southeastern British Columbia. The mine produces steelmaking coal. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant are approximately 9.0 million and 9.5 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. Proven and probable reserves at Fording River are projected to support mining at current planned production rates for a further 70 years.

Teck’s Line Creek operation is located approximately 25 kilometres north of Sparwood in southeastern British Columbia. Line Creek produces steelmaking coal. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant are approximately 3.5 and 3.5 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. At current planned production rates Line Creek has an estimated remaining reserve life of approximately 19 years.

2014 East Kootenay Zone Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition Saturday, May 10 Rayco Steel 655 Michel Creek Rd, Sparwood 8am - 2pm (approx.) Watch teams from local mines and emergency services show their mine rescue and first aid skills in a series of adjudicated tasks. • Barbecue sponsored by Finning, SMS Equipment and Cummins Western Canada • Kids’ climbing wall and laser tag • Sparwood Fire Department ladder truck • Free for all participants and spectators • Hosted by Teck’s Elkview Operations

Teck’s Elkview operation is located approximately three kilometres east of Sparwood in southeastern British Columbia. Teck has a 95% partnership interest in Elkview. The remaining 5% is indirectly held equally by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, a Japanese steel producer, and POSCO, a Korean steel producer, each of which acquired a 2.5 per cent interest in 2005. The coal produced at Elkview is used to make steel. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant (on a 100 per cent basis) are approximately 6.5 million and 6.8 million tonnes of clean coal, respectively. At current planned production rates, Elkview is estimated to have a remaining reserve life of approximately 29 years.

Number of tonnes of coal sold in 2013

Teck is the world’s second largest exporter of seaborne steelmaking coal. Their coal business consists of six mines: five in British Columbia and one in Alberta. Coal sales were 26.9 million tonnes in 2013. This accounted for 44 per cent of Teck’s revenue and 47 per cent of gross profit before depreciation and amortization.


Mining Week ~ May 11 to 17

THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, May 15, 2014

A truck with a colourful past

By Angela Treharne


nyone driving past Sparwood would struggle to miss the town’s biggest, greenest tourist attraction. It might not be the world’s largest truck anymore, but the Terex Titan in Sparwood is still drawing curious tourists off Highway 3 to have their photo taken next to it. Although now it is just a reason for motorists to pull over, the “big green truck” was once a fully working mine truck. The 3,000hp Terex Titan (at that time Terex was part of GM) first appeared in 1974, and was the only one of its type ever built. It was built in GM’s London, Ontario plant, and could haul a load of 320 tonnes. Not only was it somewhat unusual being a six-wheeler it was also the biggest dump, highest capacity haul truck in existence for 25 years until the debut of the 360 tonne capacity Caterpilllar 797 in September 1998. These days, CAT, Komatsu and Liebherr have all made larger mining trucks, but the Belarusian mining equipment manufacturer, Belaz, set a Guinness Record last year with its dump truck called the 75710, a 27-foot, eight-wheel truck able to carry 450 tonnes. The Titan first started work for Kaiser Steel in its Eagle Mountain iron mine in late 1974. At this mine the Titan suffered from downtime problems but eventually hauled some three-and-a-half million tonnes of earth until 1978. In late 1978 it was then brought to Kaiser Steel’s Sparwood mine in Canada. The truck was too large to be moved by road, so it arrived by train on eight flatbed cars. It was re-assembled and driven to the mine. In 1983 the mine was renamed to Westar Mining, and the Titan also changed colours from lime green to Westar’s blue and yellow. Shortly after, Westar directly purchased the Titan from General Motors, for US$200 thousand

and $1 million in spare parts. Westar finally retired the Titan in 1991. It was then put on public display in Sparwood in 1993. The Sparwood Chamber of Commerce subsequently established a fundraising effort for the restoration of the Titan. The engine has since been removed and last year the truck got spruced up with a fresh lick of bright green paint!

Fabrication • Cranes • Repairs • Metal Buildings

Proud to be of Service to the Mining Community in the Elk Valley 3775 14th Ave North Lethbridge, AB T1H 6Y

#14 Iskut Road Elkford, BC V0B 1H0

#4 660 Sparwood Drive Sparwood, BC V0B 1G0

Guardian First Aid Services LTD Guardian First Aid is Proud to support & service the Mining Industry and the Elk Valley

Salute to all the mines in the Elk Valley.

SPECIFICATIONS: Height: 6.9 m (22.5 ft) With Box Raised: 17.1 m (56 ft) Length: 20.1 m (66 ft) Width: 7.6 m (25 ft) Weight: 260 tonnes Payload: 350 tonnes Max Weight: 610 tonnes Horse Power: 3300 The tires are 11.5 ft in diameter, and weigh 4 tonnes each. Two Greyhound buses and two pick-up trucks would fit inside its dumper.

Reasonable Hourly and Daily Rates 4 Fully Equipped MTC units 24 hours available For all your first aid needs Debby Tomich Elkford BC V0B1H0 Cell 250-425-5946 Email:

SPARWOOD • 250-425-7738

Special Features - Mining Week 2014  
Special Features - Mining Week 2014