Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 17, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
J8 THE IETHBRIDGE HERAIU Wednesday, Juno 17, 1970- Land Just how sincere Kaiser Re- sources Ltd. is about conscien- tiously reclaiming the land it strip mines will have to wait a few years to be seen, but it docs have several projects in effect. Kaiser's massive strip mining technique involves a complex terracing system where, in es- sence, all of the soil and rock overburden that covers (lie coal Beam is removed; tlie coal is re- moved; and the overburden is dumped back into place. The seven million tons of coal production per year will involve no more than 100 acres per year of actual land surface, w'u'ch Kaiser expects no trouble in re- vegetating. Company officials continually stress their firm intent "to leave the land in better condition than it was in when we found and to date have spent more than on reclamation projects. Current plans call for total ex- penditure of about dur- ing the next two years, muc-'n of it to reclaim vast areas damag- ed before Kaiser arrived at the Sparwood, B.C. location. A process called "hydro-seed- ing" is being used, in which large tank trucks move slowly along roadways spraying a spe- cial solution of grass seed, ferti- lizer and water onto the banks above and below the road. The spray will shoot out up to 200 feet, and Kaiser has met with fair success with (he method. Larger areas are sprayed with similar equipment and after the grass and small vegetation takes hold in the ground, trees will be planted. Tlie same system will be used in tlie strip mining areas. Kaiser's large-scale strip min- ing system is necessary to make the rich coal deposits economi- cally removable, and company officials object to environment groups demanding a halt to the technique. They say it is many times safer than tunnel mining, and allows the coal to be removed without harm to the area's eco- logy because the company will replant everything it digs up. The company also recycles the water used in its coal washing ptat so it does not contamin- ate the river system, and burns natural gas in its drying plant Instead of the freely available coal, because gas does not pol- Jute the air nearly as much as coal burning would. Kaiser has also undertaken another, and more contentious reclamation project: the dreary and dirty towns of Natal and Mi- chel, long-buried under coal dust, are being replaced. While many of the local resi- dents object, the company is try- ing to get everyone to move to (he new community of Spa wood, a few miles further west Michel Is almost non-existent already, with many buildings demolished. Natal will be the scene of a temporary urban re- newal project, but Kaiser still wants its residents to move to Sparwood. The people's major objection to the move is that they own their Michel and Natal homes, but will have to take on expen- sive mortgages if they move to Sparwood. BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY Morn than 500 share- holders and directors of Kaiser Resources Ltd., and Japan- ese Industrial officials, gathered Tuesday above the com- pany's coal processing development at Sparwood, B.C. to officially open Kaiser's new strip mining project. The com- pany will mine and process more than seven million tons of coal annually, much of it bound for Japan as the an- nual Increment of Kaiser's billion dollar contract with Jap- anese steel companies. Production will be valued at more than million a year and is expected to continue al- most indefinetely. Guests at the ceremony watched as officials fired flares signalling an 88-car CPR unit train to start moving toward the deep water Roberts Bank super- port near Vancouver. The top picture shows one of the operation's two giant scoop shovels, which take 54 cubic yard bites from the coal seam (equivalent to 54 tons of coal) the size of a living room 10 feet by 18 feet. By Jim Wilson Not Guilty Plea Made On Drug Charge Gary James Derksen, 21, of Coaldale, pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of hash- ish in magistrate's court Wednesday morning. Derksen elected trial by magistrate alone. Trial was set for Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. Derksen was arrested in Lethbridge by RC1IP June 9. Ask About The NEW INVISIBLE MULTIFOCAL LENS fMULTILUX) Monster Shovel Cost Million To Build Giant Machines Essential In Kaiser's Coal Operations Walking around the Kaiser Resources Ltd. buildings and equipment at the company's Sparwood, B.C. plant and mine site effectively demonstrate what it would feel like to be an ant. Even the basic tools are im- mense, and tlie mine's digging machine can only be described as gargantuan. The machine cost million to build, and scoops 51 cubic yards of rock or coal at a time size of a living room 10 feet by 18 feet. A cubic yard of coal weighs about a ton. But the 40-ton steel scoop, massive though it is, is dwarf- ed by the actual dragline unit ;hat operates it. Tliis crane-like structure, operated by electric }ower, is more than 70 feet high md 150 feet long and weighs tons. Its 300-foct boom suspends .lie giant scccp, and the whole machine shovels 5-1 cubic yard bites out of the overburden or coal scam, depositing them in trucks built to hold 200 tons of natcrial. Kaiser has 11 trucks of 200- ton capacity, worth about 000 apiece. Their horsc- power diesel engines supply all the power needed. The trucks have 50-ply ties, water filled call for "clea instead of air filled, for added cal reasons, stability, and each costs The mine boasts 11 slight- ly less-expensive 100-trai capac- ity trucks, and a wide variety of other immense equipment. The dragline scoop dumps its coal into the trucks, which transport it to a "breaker sta- tion" where it is broken into chunks no larger than four inches in size. From the breaker station the coal moves along a 1.5 mile conveyor belt, through a foot tunnel through the moun- tain, at 690 feet per minute- about tens per hour. The conveyor drops the coal into one of four ca- pacity raw coal silos, each 250 fact high and 30 feet in di- ameter. From these silos it is fed into since the Japanese contracts call for "clean" coal for techni The water is channeled tc filtration tanks where the dus settles and the water is sen back to the wash plant for re use, thus avoiding pollution. The moist coal travels on tt a thermal drier, operated on natural gas to avoid atmo- spheric pollution as much as possible, and finally Irayels tc one of four clean coal silos, o ton capacity, 262 fee high and 70 feet in diameter. The coal is loaded directly from these silos into the Cana- dian Pacific Railway's new unii trains, which move through i tuunel under the silos. The unit train includes 88 permanently connected cars, a million preparation wash plant at the rate of tens an hour, where it is sorted according to size and any rock material is separated out. Large chunks are further crushed, until no lumps arc arger than Hi inches. The coal hen gees through water baths :o wash off all dust particles, 19 RESTYUNG 0 REUNING REPAIRING CLEANING AND GLAZING 514 3rd AVE. S. PHONE 327-2209 AGT Project Near Raymond Alberta Government Tele- phones commenced work this week on a portion of the rural buried cable program in the Raymond area. A total of 126 miles of buried cable and wire will provide service for 157 subscribers and 50 potential subscribers. AGT states that its mil- lion rural buried cable pro- gram is progressing on sched- ule. Upcm completion in 1974, Ihe program will have brought four-party divided-ring service to almost all of tile rural sub- scribers throughout the prov- ince. Almost million is sched- uled to be spent on rural cable systems this year. More than miles of buried cable and wire will bring service to 40 new areas. Service will be ex- cnded to 10.400 subscribers potential subscribers. pulled by from three to eleven automated die sel engines, depending on the load weight and grade of the track. Each car holds 105 tons of coal and takes less than one minute to load. The train never really slops, moving at, about 5C feet per minute throughout tht loading procedure. When the train's 88 are fully loaded it immediately leaves far tlie Roberts Banl deep water superport south o Vancouver. The new million port can accommodate ships of up to ton capacity, which transport the coal to Japan. Two trains per day arrive at Roberts Bank, taking 36 hours for the 700-mile trip and being unloaded in just four hours. The trains immediately return to Sparwoftd emptyv to be re- loaded. Total elapsed time for the turn-around is 72 hours. Through this system, Kaiser ?lans to ship about 5.5 million ,ons of coal per year to Japan with sufficient buffer time in he schedule to accommodate most foreseeable problems. Sports Clinic On Saturday The Alberta department of 'puth equestrian and slow jitch clinics for coaches and officials, which were post- poned last Saturday because of will be held this Saturday Parting at a.m. The equestrian clinic will be icld in the Exhibition grounds ihow ring and the slow pilch :linic at Wilson Junior High School. The diving clinic in Pincher Creek will be held as scheduled at the Pincher Creek swimming Kaiser Is Newcomer In Tass Coal Fields BY JIM WILSON Herald Staff Writer Kaiser Resources Ltd. is a ri lative newcomer to tlie Crow Nest coal basin, but it ba proven what a company wit almost unlimited investmei capital can develop. The existence of coal in th area was known as early a 1811, but at that time it wa not needed and would in an event have inaccessible. The basin was first explore in 1881 by a pioneer geologis G. M. Dawson, but it wasn until 1887 when a coal mine named William Fernie bega pfospecting that anyon thought of mining it. Fernie's investigations en couraged interest, and in 189 the Crow's Nest Railway wa started, linking the new town o Fernie and Coal Creek, when the coal was to be mined. The Crow's Nest Pass Coa Company, which owned th railway, began mining in sev eral locations, and a boom o sorts was underway. Rail links connected the are in several directions. The Ca nadian Pacific Railway lin was built between Fort Mac leod and Fernie, and the Grea Northern Railway built throug Michel from Fernie and con nected the line to its own Uni ted States system. The Michel colliery opened in 1899 and coal mining prosper ed. Coleman, on Uie Alberta side of the Crow's Nast ooa basin opened In 1907, and bj 1910 production was at its high est point until this million tons. The industry was strong through the First World Wa years, shipping to smelters throughout North America. By the late 1920s, however, worli markets were slumping and th' depression years almost de- stroyed the Crow's Nest coa: markets. Production grew again jus before and during World War but never reached its 191i peak. in 1952 and 1953 the diese engine changeover undertake] by all Canadian and Unitet States railroads killed the final vestiges of the Crow's Nest coa industry and the area's econ- omy went into a serious de cline. The population dropped se- riously, with as many as people a year leaving the 'Pasi district until by 1966 there were only people in the entire region. One of the few companies that managed to survive, sup- porting the towns of Natal, Mi- chel and Fernie, was the Crow's Nest Pass Coal the first coal mining firm in the district. Still, its survival depended on poor and sporadic export mar- kets and substantial govern, ment subsidies. The company sought the rapidly growing Japanese mar- ket, but could guarantee neith- er large-scale supply of coal nor efficient transport. The rail freight system was not geared to handle massive quantities of coal, and there was no deep water bulk-loading port on the west coast. In 1965, it changed its name to Crow's Nest Industries. Meanwhile, Kaiser Steel Cof- ppration's coal producing sub- sidiary in the U.S. was starting informal discussions with Jap- anese steel companies, seeking to sell American coal to Ja- pan. Kaiser Steel Corporation had for many years been investing in Canada (and its founder, Henry J. Kaiser started his ca- reer with a paving business in Vancouver, B.C., in 1912) and knew of. the immense Crow's Nest coal basin, one of the largest coal deposits in the world. Kaiser investigated the basin, and at the same time as Ja- pan began seeking large new coal supplies, Kaiser started ne- gotiating with Crows Nest Industries. In a J55 million shares and cash deal, Kaiser bought the rights to mine acres of CNI properties, and formed Kaiser Coal, which was soon renamed Kaiser Resources Ltd. The new company had im- mense financial resources hrough its parent Steel Corporation, and was prepared .0 invest millions of dollars in I its capital intensive develop- ment at Sparwood. In order to mine the vast quantities of coal required, Kai- ser abandoned the old tunnel- ing system and decided to sim- ply strip the 50 to 300-foot thick soil and rock cover from the top of the coal seam. Huge digging machines were developed, some of them never before engineered. The Kaiser System is to simply remove the lop of a mountain down to the coal layer, remove Hie coal and replace the top of the moun- tain. The surface is then re- vegetated. Tlie plant and equipment at Sparwood cost Kaiser mil- lion. Port facilities at Roberts Bank cost an additional mil- lion, and tin: CPR's new auto- mated unit train system cost CPR azicut million. Kniser has also succeeded In adapting a Japanese Russian hydraulic mining to the B a 1 m e r Ridge coal, on the south side of its property, and hopes to begin extensive un- derground mining using (lie new system. It teak Crow's Nest 72 years to mine about 50 million tons of coal from its properties until 1968; Kaiser, having invested about 5100 million, will mine the next 50 million tons in less than seven years. Pollution Wires Used Against River Oil Spill The pollution telegraph in Alberta is excellent and rapid, if the current people strong campaign against the Athabasca River oil spill is any indication. About 35 groups throughout the province, with member- ships exceeding people have immediately sprung to tlie support of STOP'S cam- paign including several in Lethbridge. Lethbridge support has been promised from Pollution Con- IroI-Southern Alberta; tlie Al- berta Wilderness Association; he Lethbridge Natural History Society; the Areheological So- ciety of Alberta; the Lett- bridge and District Fish and n-ame Association; and the Un- iversity of Lethbridge students' society council. Mrs. Jean Puckett, one of the protest organizers in Leth- jridge, said the rapidity of sup- port offered to the STOP group ;howed how concerned Al >ertans are about oil and other 'orms of pollution, and how quickly they could mobilize on provincial basis. And Robin Dann, U of L stu- dent president, said he thought he oil spill should be the con- cern of all Albertans: "If people don't show their con- cern now, the way will be clear 'or other similar accidents to do their damage too." What can Lethbridge resi- dents do to support STOP'S call or a full enquiry? "Join an environment pre- servation group, or better still, write our city MLA, John Lan- deryou in Edmonton and tell lim he should call on the gov- ernment to do something about he Mr. Dann says. Tlie trouble started when the :reat Canadian Oil Sands lorthern Alberta pipeline jurst, spilling thousands of gal- ons of crude oil into the Atha- lasca River. The spill has now spread into ;n oil slick extending more ban 150 miles downstream, md wildlife officials are ex- remely concerned about the ikely effects the oil will have n the area's wildlife during be next few years. An Edmonton environmental Control group called STOP be- an its formal protest against lie spill Monday morning, and ust 24 hours later had every nvironmental group in Alb- erta sending telegrams to the overnment and otherwise pro- esting the accident. STOP is demanding a public enquiry into the oil leak, and wants to know why it took more than two days until any officials became concerned out it, and more than six days before anyone started doing anything about it. The group also asks why there were no emergency cut- off valves on the pipeline that would have made a leak much less serious. STOP officials say it is ob- vious there were no contin- gency plans established for an oil leak in an inland pipeline either from the company or :he provincial government and they ask what plans will now be made by both groups. STOP adds that it is also con- cerned about the quality and effectiveness of the chemicals jeing used to reduce the oil on ,lte river's surface; there is some possibility it will simply cause another type of pollution. The public inquiry would ikely take the form of a Royal Commission, with power to supoena witnesses and experts for their testimony. STOP emphasizes that It has no political axe to grind: it is not attempting to fix any blame, but asks that the pro- per studies be undertaken im- mediately to insure that simi- ar tragedies are prevented in he future. Among the effects of the spill are: the oil has suffocated fish and other marine creatures who depend on the water for their oxygen; the oil coals the feathers )f waterfowl that unsuspect- ngly land on tlie river sur- ace, and they strangle on the il when they try to clean lieir feathers with their bills; fishing grounds used by ndians on the river have been uined. INSURANCE LIABILITY BONDS AUTO FIRE ROSS1TER AGENCIES LTD. 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