Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 11, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, May 11, 1972 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD IS Fording is 'most exciting strip coal mine in world' "Go out and find me some coking coal." That challenge was issued in 19C5 by John Taylor of CanPac Oil and Gas. Don Livingstone, general manager of Lethbridge Collier- ies Ltd.; Dick Marshall, man- ager of engineering and pro- duction for CanPac Minerals; and geologists Gordon Miilihews, vice president of CanPac and Glen Kuslilon, CanPac exploration manager, took up the challenge. Their efforts resulted in what Mr. Livingstone des- cribes as "the most exciting strip coal mine in the entire world because of a combina- tion of the size of the equip- ment and the rugged terrain where it will be used." The Fording Coal project, 85 miles north of Sparwood, will be Canada's outstanding coking coal project, rated in the top two or three in pro- duction and unsurpassed in efficiency, he told the Leth- bridge Rotary Club. Plant and equipment are worth million Once the Fording Coal proj- ect site was selected, explora- tion and testing completed and a contract signed with the Jap- anese for the coal, work had to start on gelling the coal out, processed and to the west coast. The plant and equipment cost more than million. Thirty- five miles of railway line had to be built as well as three unit trains and a complete town, bringing costs to more than million, before any coal was mined, said Mr. Liv- ingstone. A 60-yard dragline costing million was required to mine the Greenhill coal, It requires a solid rock roadway 150 feet wide to travel up and down the mountains. The dragline, weighing the equivalent of cars, re- quires as much power to move !t as half the city of Lethbridge uses, said Mr. Livingstone. The dragline will be working on the mountainsides between and feet elevations. With a 310-foot boom it can pick up 100 tons of coal and rock at a time out of a 20- storey deep hole and place it on top of a 15-storey pile as far as IVa football fields once every 80 seconds. To break up the rock, a ser- ies of holes 10 inches in dia- meter are drilled 25 feet apart, packed with explosives, and blown at the same time. The dragline is walked out on the blown material and the rock is dumped down the side of the mountain at the rate of 32 million cubic yards a year. A total of tons of mater- ial a day must be removed to meet commitments. Coal is then picked up and windrowed behind the dragline, where it is picked up by huge shovels and loaded into 100-ton trucks. The trucks take it down the mountain where every pound Fording stories by Jim Maybie Herald Staff Writer is washed. It is dried, blended, stockpiled and loaded into the unit trains which take it to Roberts Bank on the west coast for loading on ships to Japan. It will take Vk hours to load tons of coal into the constantly-moving 104-car unit trains. After coal has been removed from a large area, an ex- tensive program of reclama- tion and beautilication will be undertaken. Cominco is contin- uing its program of testing to determine what will grow best at the various elevations. While a contract for million has been signed, Mr. Livingstone said, subsequent contracts on coal already tested from the 13 other seams could raise the figure to more than a billion contract. "This will greatly assist Can- ad's balance of payments, pro- vide hundreds of jobs for Cana- dians and enrich the British Columbia and Canadian treas- uries by several millions of said Mr. Livingstone. Coal now is being produced by dragline at the Greenhills pit and by shovel and truck at the Clode pit. The plant and equipment are being tuned up and the bugs ironed out. The operation is not expected to start producing three million tons of coal a year before 1973. Unit trains now have only 54 cars, but when things get into full swing they will have 104 cars. A few weeks ago the first Fording coal was loaded aboard ship for Japan. The load was between and tons. An estimated 500 persons now are employed on the proj- ect. Similar projects by Canadian Pacific may get off the ground at Isolation Ridge, 35 miles north of Coleman and at Panth- er River, northwest of Calgary, They still are in the ex- ploration stage. BED WARMER In tlie days before central heating, warm coals were put in a pan which was inserted be- tween the sheets to warm a bed. House Paint MOORGARD Non-fading colors stay clean bright. Long lasting durability excellent gloss retention. Oj PLEASE F'LL I purchased Freddies Paint (Western) Ltd 816-3rd AVE. S. PHONE 327-5540 "WHERE QUALITY COSTS IESS AND SERVICE IS A MUST A lot of years of hard work were required to bring John Taylor's challenge to the point where Fording Coal now is producing coking coal for the Japanese steel industry. The first problem was to find the coking coal. Out came the geological maps and the team looked for an area with lots of Kootenay formation- the one in which coal occurs in the area. What looked like a good area was selected. Aerial photos were taken and studied. A heli- copter trip confirmed it was a good area. Leases were filed on what subsequently proved to be tho best location in the area. The four men were elated in June, 1967 as they climbed to feet on Eagle Moun- tain, having discovered 13 coal seams, some as much as 40 feet thick. "Ironically, the three seams we would use for our first con- tract, were lower in the valley and covered by trees" and were not visible, Mr. Living- stone said. A million crash explora- tion program was launched in July. The season was devoted to surveying, detailed geology, location of the seams by trenching and some road build- ing. Work ceased for the winler on Sept 19. In January, CP President Ian Sinclair ordered that the property be proven, coal tested :it Ottawa and in Japan, all costs worked out, type of DON LIVINGSTONE machinery chosen, preliminary plant design completed, and a report be prepared to go Lo Japan by the end of the year. "What an order." "On May 15, we moved inlo j the Fording Valley, a real said Mr. Living- stone1. Conditions were so bad that miners had to be flown to their work only a mile away. Jn the next months a total of 45 miles of road were built on the mountain sides; eight miles of solid rock were drilled; 13 tunnels were drilled more than feet; bulk tost- Freemasons meet Friday The Lodge of Perfection (An- cient and Accepted Scottish Rite) of Freemasonry, will be having a special meeting at Ihe Masonic Hall Friday at 8 p.m. Donald L. Witter, grand com- mander of the supreme council for Canada will be in atten- dance. All members are requested to attend. ing samples were ready; and 100 million tons of coking coal I were proven. A 12-inch thick report was completed by Dec. 29 and early in low a delegation left for Japan to convince the steel in- dustry there "that we had the coal, it was what they wanted and that we could produce it within the price range they were willing to pay." Equipped with the material necessary for the presentation, "We got our tickets on CP Air and the ticket agent nonchal- antly said, 'There will be some excess baggage charges, gen- tlemen.' He then slipped us a bill for After two weeks in Japan, where the team was questioned by 75 industrialists, a mil- lion contracl was landed to provide the Japanese steel in- dustry with three million tons of coal a year for ]5 years, first shipments to be made in 1972. Forty per cent of the proper- ty was given to Cominco to build and operate the mining and processing project with 60 per cent retained by Canadian Pacific. A ready made staff was required to spend mil- lion in two years to meet the commitment. "Cominco has done an ex- cellent said Mr. Living- stone. LETHBRIDGE OFFICE FORN1TURE LIMITED POST OFFICE BOX 938 LETHBRIDGE, AlBERTA towel tevel Seventh Street Shopping Moll PHONE (403) 328-7411 PRESIDENT STAN WORBOYS Squeaky Chair? We Repair! Lethbridge Office Furniture Limited .THREE WAYS 1. Every Allstate oaEsengei lire is Guaranteed orjainst ALL tire failures for tho life of Ircnd rcgnrdloss of Ihe cause ol failure, replacement cost basal on tread usnri, woarout for Epccifti rumbcr of months. If llr wears out anytime bofort guarantee expires, tho follow ing discount eJlowanco of tho current pr ce will b given towards a replacement I Months GimanKsi) 1 ;l raicd a.rjninM current prico. 2, puncliiies nrn fixerf at no charge. 3. 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