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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 11, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, May 11, 1972 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 13 Fording is 'most exciting strip coal mine in world' "Go out and find me somn coking coal." That challenge was issued in 1905 by John Taylor of CaiiPsc Oil and Gas. Don Livingstone, general manager of LclhbndRc Collier- ies LW.; Dick Marshall, man- ager of engineering and pro- duction for CanPac Minerals; and geologists Gordon M.'iHhcws, vice president ol CanPac and Glen HusliUm, CanPac exploration manager, took up the challenge. Tlicir efforts resulted in what Mr. Livingstone dcs- crihes as "the most exciling strip coal mine in the entire ivorld 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, ,'J5 fiiileK north of Spanvood, will be Canada's outstanding coking coal project, rated in the lop 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. Thiily- 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 Greenliill 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 it as half the city of Lethbridge uses, said Mr. Livingstone. The dragline be working on the mountainsides between and feet elevations. With a 310-foot if can pick up 100 tons of coal and rock at a time out of a 20- storey deep hole and place it on lop of a 15-slorey pile as far as football fields once every 80 seconds. To break up the rock, a scr- ies of holes 10 inches in dia- meter are drilled 25 feet apart, packed wilh explosives, and blown at the same time. The dragline is walked out on the blown material and the rock is dumped down Ihe side of the mountain at the rate of 32 million cubic yards a year. A lolal of Ions of maler- ial a day must be removed to meet commitments. Coal is then picked up and windrowcd behind the dragline, where if is picked up by huge shovels and loaded into 100-ton trucks. The trucks fake it clown the mountain where every pound Fording stories fay Jim Moybie 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 2% 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 beautification Mill 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 Grednhills 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. T 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 wag loaded aboard ship for Japan. The load was between and tons. An estimated SCO 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. 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 I hi! 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 41) 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 cea.sed for the winter on Sept. 19. In January, CP President Ian Sinclair ordered that the property be proven, coal tested at Ottawa and in Japan, all cotts 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 into j the Fording Valley, a real j said Mr. Living- ituiu Conditions were so bad that miners had to he flown lo 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 test- Freemasons meet Friday The Lodge of Perfection (An- cient and Accepted Scottish Rite) of Freemasonry, Kill 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 be in atten- dance. All members are requested to attend. ing samples were ready; and 101) million tons of coking coal were proven. A 12-inch thick report was completed by Dec. 29 and early in a delegation left for Japan to convince the sleel in- dustry there "that had the coal, it was what they wanted and that we could produce it within the price range they were willing to pay." Equipped wilh 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 hill for After two weeks in Japan, where the team was questioned by 75 industrialists, a mil- lion contracl was landed to provide Ihe Japanese steel in- dustry with three million tons of coal a year for 15 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 FURNITURE LIMITED POST OFFICE BOX 938 LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Lowel Level Seventh Slreel Shopping Moll PHONE (403) 328-7411 PRESIDENT STAN WORBOYS Squeaky Chair? We Repair! R Lethbrldge Office Furniture Limited BED WARMER In the days before central heating, warm coals were put In a pan which was inserted be- the sheets to warm a bed. House Paint MOORGARD EXTERIOR GLOSS FINISH For wood siding, LOW LUSTRE LATEX HOUSE PAINT Easy brushing quick drying. QC Non-fading colors stay clean bright. Long lasting durability excellent gloss retention. Freddies Paint (Western) Ltd 816- 3rd AVE. S. PHONE 327-5540 WHERE QUAUTV COSTS IESS AND SERVICE IS A MUST" GUARANTEED .THREE WAYS 1. Every Allsiaic caEScngm. tue is Guaranteed onainsf ALL lire failures for (ho life of cJic trend rcgnrdloss ol Iho cause D! failure, replacement cost basrrl on trend pro. Tilled arjnimt current price. 2, N.nl puneliirr s nrf; lixcrf {it no ehnrpc. 3. Gtior.iiiiecd wcaroiit for specific ilffc number of rnonihs. If lire J'ro wears out anytime boForo 3jK guarantee expires, tho follow- vjjh ing discount ellowaneo off the current prlco win be