Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 25, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
18 THE LETHBRIDGE HERAID Wodnulrttiy, 25, W7I n MOUNTAIN-TOP COAL MINING Coal mining is big business. From ihe CanPac Minerals viewpoinf in I he Crowsnesl Pass, north of Coleman, it's also a high business. Top left photo shows machine on the top of Coal Mountain, preparing the for an ndif, a 150-fooJ- funnel into the side of a mountain lo obtain a 20-ton coal sample for testing. Top centre is a drilling rig in the process of pulling a diagonal core sample from 499 feel into the mountainside. Top right is one of the mountains with part of ihe 60 miles of roadway in ihe area running along its side. BoMom left is what used to be an ugly bulldozer trench. It has been backfilled by CanPac to fit the contour of the area and successfully seeded to grass. A four-wheel drive vehicle and CanPac saff stop ot Shcnfield Pass in boHom centre pholo near a high survey marker which will prevent a bulldozer from knocking oul a survey pin when it clears off ihe 12 lo 14 feet of snow in the area in the spring. Bottom right is a roadway in Shenfield Pass which CanPac is in ihe process of reclaiming. No longer required, il has been backfilled to the contour of the mounlam. ff is left in rough condition so grass seed will have a chance to catch, protected from high wind and sun. Photos by Jim Maybie New multi-million-dollar coal mining operation set near Coleman Dv JIM MAYB1E Slalf Writer COLEMAN U is not in- conceivable that by 1375 a new, multi million dollar coal mining operation could be in full suing in the heart of tbe moutains 25 miles north of here. CanPac Minerals Limited, the mining arm of the CPR. has in- vested S3 miUion the last three years in a coal explorat i o n program in the area. The company is leasing 36.000 acres of .'and 10.000 acres of freehold and 26.000 acres of Crown land. It 40 million tons of re- coverable coul. sufficient to pro- vide a Jo year conLract of tii'o Trillion a yoar, and is looking fnr another 20 million tons of recoverable coni to pro- vide three million tons of pro- duction a year. This year's field program is almost completed. Results will be tabulated and then Ihe com- pany will decide on next year's exploration program, initially estimated to cost to If, after next year's program is completed, it is determined the coal reserves are econo- mically mineable, and a con- tract for the coal is signed by the end of the it would take about years to get the operation into time in 1975. The project would be a strip mine operation, where the lay- ers of dirt and rock are re- moved from the coal seam, the coal extracted the dirt ojid rock replaced. Of the 36.000 acres the com- pany is exploring, about acres would be disturbed in the mining operation. Richard manager of engineer- ing and production for the com- pany, said Iji exploring il.s coal proper- ties tbe last three vears. Can- Pac has carved GO miles nf roads out of the wilderness. They Plan from the? valley floor and snake up the sides of mountains lo an clrvniion uJ 8.375 feet. They through an area about Nirec uiih'i MJdo by eight niilr.s long. No super- high w a y s. ii sometimes re- quires an hour !o drive seven miles in a four wheel drive vehicle. To j.'icililale dhrdiny Die of) men in the arcn Ibis year, Ihe, roads arc named and intersec- tions posicd. The main drac is Douglas Drive, named .ulur Dcnis Douglas, manager for the Jsoi.ition prnjrel. Then there's Speedwav, named after Tony Speed, senior mining en- gineer on tbe project. There are others, like: Wrong Way, Charily Drivy, Lawsen and Trans- Honeymoon Highway. Most names express wishful thinking or optimism because the tracks in no way represent what the names denote. When (his ye.ir's exploration program is completed, I !i e mountain roads will be barri- caded with rock" In keep hnnt- erb and others from further de- secration of the wilds. on mountain switch backs, it is sometimes more conveni- ent to drive forward down OIIP stretch, then back down Ihe oth- er. Mr. Douglas was driving up the side of a mountain Mon- day when at feet (he car- rics a pocket aiiimeler') he came across a road barricade. There were a lev: minutes of palaver lo decide whether be should try lo turn around on the narrow, boulder strewn mountain ledge he calls a road or back down. It was decided there was less in going down forward. Kcrcst Ranger FranJt Light- bound, who received a broken neck going down a mountain the wiong way ;i lew years ago. promptly left the vehicle while three passengers in the back pray ex I a lot. After umpteen manoeuvres and what itemed like an etcr- llit.1 road again in front of the vehicle and Frank v. as climbing back in. Mr. Douglas firmly believes it's a lot safer driving on moun- lain .sides m Ihe1 city. At least on a mountain, there is not much traffic and one is very The only thing Mr. Douglas really worries about is the water truck drivers who "drive like When CanPac decides it has no fuitlier use for a road, it is backfilled, roughly lo the con- tour of the mountain, and a mixture of grass seed and fer- tilizer is spread on the area. It is regulation 5 of 20 reg- ulations designed to protect the ecology. The work must be done lo the salisfaclion of the ran- ger in charge of the project- in (his case, Mr. LighLbouiid. The mountains, like tin! roads albo c a r r y interesting names f o r indification. There are Faith, Hope and Charity hills (none of which proved too en- Holiday Ridge, To- morrow Hill. Syncbne Hill, Flat- iron Hill, Poncho Hill (so-called because a surveyor laid his pon- cho over a survey pin so ho could easily find it again) and Coal Top Mountain, whore ex- tensive work is being done on Ihe peak of Ibe mountain. What physical work has Can- Pac actually done in the Isola- tion Ridge area? The area has been surveyed. Sixty miles nf roads have been carved. A tn- tal of 7G holes have been drill- ed 500 to 803 feet deep from which cores have been taken for study and testing. Five adits have been punch- ed in the mountain sides. Adits go into a coal seam perhaps 150 feet. Coal miners bring cut about 20 Ions of coal from in- side '.he seam where it is away from weathering. The sample is sent to Cal- gary lor initial processing and some goes to Edmonton for ad- ditional processing. A sample is sent to Ottawa for analysis ar.d further samples are sent to po- IcnJia] customers in Europe and Japan for further testing and trials. This year alcne the company lias purchased two tons of crass seed and five tons of fertilizer which have been spread on var- ious areas as part o[ the com- pany's reclamation program. A mixture of 40 pounds of grass ?ecd to 200 pounds of fertilizer is spread to the acre. The foresty service and Can- Pac are experimenting with different mixtures to determine which is the best for the vari- ous terrains and altitudes. 1 n some areas grass has taken a firm hold while in others, noth- ing is happening. The company has put in feel of culvjrt this year lo maintain Ihe roads and keep the water runoff in as naluial a course as possible. The exploration program this year alone has cost si million. The company has had 2li of its own staff in the area and lias provided employment for another 25 parsons. CanPac maintains a 30 man camp from May lo September, some- limes into October. From two lo five Caterpillar tractors are used, two .slashing contractors arc employed lo cut trees, three drilling rigs operate 2-1 hours a day and Lcthbridge Col- lieries mining crews are em- ployed on shills for work in the adils (Monday morning three men escaped an adit as corn Hakes like coal tumbled into the tunnel, locking i.i worth of equipment'. How about the ecology, the esthetics? Birds are -still flung around. One could bag a moun- tain goat or sheep (I can't tell the difference) with a rock or run over them with a four wheel drive (three didn't move from their resting place on a CanPac road until Ihe vehicle was about 30 yards away (maybe they didn't realize MAN was The Oldman River gets its beginning in this area and this could be a cause of concern. A strip mining operation isn't the nealcst operation the world and when a mountain is slrip- ped of its vegetation and wa- ter courses destroyed, problems can arise. There have been accidents on CanPac property. A pit of chem- ical filing mud broke loose and cascaded partway down a mountain side, leaving an ugly scar which will take years to erase. While drilling on a mountainside, underground water was liit which gushed over the surface making the area unstable. It cost CanPac to drill a directional hole lo plug off the flow. These things do happen and it is costly not only in terms of ecology but also dollars. The government has a list ot rules and regulations which companies niijct follow. If they don't, the forestry can stop llicir operations. The company is also assess- ed limber damage. The money goes to the forestry for refer- eslalion projects. Reclamation is involved from the start of exploration through to the end of development, Mr. Marshall of CanPac said. It Is a major consideration In Iho determination of the economic feasibility of a project. S'itling on a mountain top, il makes one wonder if it is worfh all Ihe problems and headaches for the S14 Lo 15 a ton a com- pany gets for coal. The market is increasingly competitive. One, has to remove the overburden to get the coal (CanPac figures 10 tons of overburden to one ton of coal is the maximum ratio it can Then the coal has to be loaded and taken down the mountain. It has to be processed and delivered to an ocean terminal. A piant of Ihe size required for Ihe CanPac project could cost ?60 to million, which has lo be recovered from the coal price. Transportation from the plant lo the west coast culs S5 to 56 a ton from the price- Then there are taxes (50 per licence foes, mining and preparation costs, reclamation, laiuibolding and exploration costs, and a 10 cent a ton royally lo the provincial gov- ern mcnl. Bcsicles its many other con- siderations, CanPac also has to determine the best and most economical way of getting the coal from the plant to the west coast by pipeline all the way, by a 38 mile rail spur line lo Ihe Lmxlhrcck Cowley area, by truck, by conveyor belt? Coal mining and all its rami- fications financial and ecol- ogical is no simple matter. Lougheed would consider oil and gas royalties increases Standoff dies By MYRON oil sncl gns royalties, stal- Staff only Uiai he voiikl have to Progressive Conserva t i v the siuialiuii lo dole-mine if such n mrflsurp could be leader Peter Loughecd hintec Tuesday IK might increase without affecting investment or iobs. and gas royalties if his party wins the Aug. provincial oil royalties fjiicsiinn is emerging as one uf impor- Speaking at a press Issues in the campaign. ence in Lethbridge, Mr. Lougheed said that when the question of royalties comes up Xcw Dc-n, fit-rat s havo hilling ilie hnrd, review in 1972, a lo in- government, would eslablisb royallior. il" i-'rflrd largest royalties possible Premier Si nun rilso out discouraging investment h i s reducing job He added his party is mitled to increasing coal royalties. However, he refused commit himself Lo an 1 The lethbridge Community invites for Ihe following prand opening Thursday FOR OUR EVENING AND DAY COURSES Upgrading and High officially mark Ihr. now location of Ttr.kor AppIiantTs at 812 -1th Avc. S. Business Education Baker, owner of I'.akrr General Interns! said (lie new fa- pecially intruders of has double ilif f 1 o o r ing, French and of ihn old store mid will Defensive .in expanded display fire a worth of appliances. Applicants should apply said no new linrs v, ill be fho standard opolicnliem for employment form to: The Director of Personnel Leihbridge Communily College Lolhbridgo, and (here mil lie no rihlwn culling ceremony. The, grand opening is only to let know about (he ncv, lo- he said. .might increase Lhe royalties, j Moreover, he had said ''up; summed up the major issues in: nilics, ensuing smaller centres although like Mr. Lougheed, he Lo 49 per and it would: tbe campaign as the future of; Rpt an equal break, and which refused to make a specific com-' probably be a great dcsl less the agricultural community, parly can do Ihe best job in niitmcnt. than this figure. i preservation of the environ-1 negotiating with the federal At the press conference, Mr. Tne Conservative 1 c a d c r mcnt, creation of job opportu-i government. said ho did not Ihe t'lpclion was turning "nasiy or dirty1' because Mr. Strom i lias .stepped up Ins attacks on 1 the Conservatives for their 1 election promises. are lo expose the weaknesses in Ihe Social Credit record and platform and they .ire Irving in e.vpo.sc we -i k- nesses in our plr.lf.ornV' the Conservative leader said. Hnwrvpr. he said, inomen- luni in the cnmpaicn is with the Conservatives, and he scoff- ed at a suggestion that his parly may have "peaked" that is, passed its point of max- imum support. In reply to charges by Pre- mier Strom that the Conserva- tives are making unrealistic and expensive nk-clion prom- ises, Mr. Lougheed said all of his party's programs can im- plemented without increasing taxes by pslablishing a new set of priorities. Mr. Lougliced denied that be plans lo ''sell" -HI per cent of A 1 b e r t a (lovornmcnl Tele- j phonos, lie .said hn was mere- ly ''giving an oppor- tunity to invest" in ACT, add- ing it would have no effect CHI AGT employees, on iL opera- (ion, nr on (he eo.sl M ron.sii- Glenda Braverock, 16., one mile ncrlh of Standoff of aandoff died Tuesday nighl The driver and two other in Ihe Blood Indian Hospital in; Cardston as the result of in- j m re, juries she received in a truck covert minor injuries. and swather collision Monday. The accident look place on a bridge on Highway 2 about i was not injured. The driver of the swather, Douglas Doyle, of Fort Maclccd Woolco, tellers poll U'ooJco Department. Si ores Public Opinion In comlncl Ihejihat Ibe lcvi'1 uf shopping Open fjtfer and Zollers' Ltd. have pru- survey. vcnience in llii.-i unity posed lo cily council nu :iciion, Mr. Kent il. llie ar.d trading area would still )c he taken an (lie closing bylaw poll would be lo rintennine Ihe .vmong the Jowcsl in the Premier until after a gallup-lypi: poll of level of consumer satisfaction if that public opinion poll ha< public opinion has been con- with Uie retail services- pro- not been conducted, he Mr. Strom, I ducted on the conlrorersy. vidcd by Lolbbridge mer- Tbe prnpcisd poll on got a prelly goad catlle-fccding business a 1 utter lo Mayor Andy chants. closing in law lake here in Leihbridge. li's righi next door to the A n d c r s o n Tuesday. referred Lo Ihc plebiscite; n1onlh l complete, sewage treatment planl. And 1 admit that the store manager Robert evening shopping in these two send up isn't exactly of violets. said the two stores were he said, would not stores have made sn an interesting difference between these ing to invest in such a poll and that they had held had it not for Lhe public opinion poJI (hat preceded the to IKS presented at the iiiblic hearing on the closing bylaw scheduled for lonight operations. The cattle feeding operation is generating a !ot of business in the community. But the sewage treatment plant thanks lo yuur Social Credit ed the Canadian Institute n f "There can he little o'clock in Gym One of the Civic Spoils Centre. Nine other .joint or individual submissions will be presented at that is costing Ihe taxpayers of this cily a heck of a lot of money. About in fad. 1 notice your government didn't seem to mind bailing Edmonton out by building the Big Morn dam at 'Extreme reaction Mountain House to, among other things, help FOKT MACLKOD I'Yighl-eningly exlrcme action is the only alto r n a live Canadians have to creating an effective and relevant educational -10 per ecnl of Ibe persons in jail are native Mr. Linklatcr said. Ho slammed the federal gov- j crnment's attitude of city control its pollution problem by regulating the water flow of the North Saskatchewan. But when Lem-bridge tried to get some money from you to help finance Iho big addition lo its treatment plant lo cut tem for Indians rial ive are no funds the pollulian of the Oldman river which your tivist said here Ibe Indian Association A 1 of Health ordered we couldn't get one "You're going If b.ivo of llic bands requests out of you. build bigger and iH'iter for a scliool, yet "if for a change, Mr. Premier? It sure as hock is. and string barbed-wire around all IJjc reserves if ,1 new system is not for a million dollars to build a new prison because AGENCIES truly, DICK GRAY, Progressive Conservative candidate, LinklMer told teachers and Bloods are causing West, ficials a! (lie orientation LrOibi idgc, they'll find Floor 4lh Avo. I'm working on the smell, but I'm having trouble million." all those Social Credit flics.