An intense debate about increasing coal exports to Asia from British Columbia focused on Texada Island recently. The Texada quarry, owned by Lafarge Canada Ltd., is the endpoint in a proposal that would see millions of tons of thermal coal from the United States exported through the province.
Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) has applied to Port Metro Vancouver for a project permit to build coal-handling facilities within its existing terminal operations that would allow the direct transfer of coal from trains to barges.
The barges would carry coal through Sabine Channel, located between Texada and Lasqueti islands, to the quarry, where the coal would be stored before transfer to deep-sea vessels for export to Asia. The coal would come from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, delivered to FSD on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway.
FSD forecasts it would handle two million metric tons in 2013, increasing to four million in 2014. The coal would be delivered to Texada by barges carrying 8,000 tons every two days in 2013, increasing to two barges a day in 2014.
Lafarge has applied to the provincial government for a permit amendment to increase its coal storage capability. The company plans to expand the area that is used to stockpile and trans-ship coal. According to the company, the volume of coal that will need to be stockpiled will increase to 800,000 tons. While FSD’s application is specific up to year five, the full build-out of the proposal is for eight million tons of coal to be exported starting in year six.