VANCOUVER, Aug. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - Today the Minister for Energy and Mines for the Government of the Province of British Columbia, The Honourable Bill Bennett, joined with Anglo American's Chief Executive, Mark Cutifani and Metallurgical Coal Chief Executive Officer, Seamus French, to turn the first sod on the first phase of the Trend-Roman project, an open cut expansion for Trend mine near Tumbler Ridge in north-east British Columbia.
Also in attendance were First Nations partners and government officials to celebrate construction starting on the project's water management infrastructure, which follows the Government of British Columbia granting the Mines Act Permit Amendment (MAPA) for the project on 7 August 2013.
Visiting the Canadian coal operations for the first time since his appointment as Anglo American's Chief Executive, Mark Cutifani said the Trend-Roman expansion project would extend the life of the existing Trend operation by 16 years while introducing the most innovative environmental protection strategies ever seen in the region.
"The approval of the Roman project's first phase is an important milestone in our strategic plans to grow our metallurgical coal output in Canada, with the completed expansion producing up to 2.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year and employing up to 450 people," Mr Cutifani said.
"As a company committed to maintaining the highest standards of environmental protection, we are proud to be the first company in British Columbia to take the unprecedented step to set aside 1,852 hectares of our tenures to protect caribou habitat.
"In addition to this, we will contribute $2.566 million towards the Government of British Columbia's Peace Northern Caribou Plan.
"In another first, we will soon begin construction on the only selenium water treatment facility in the north-east of British Columbia," Mr Cutifani said.
Seamus French said detailed design was well underway on a mine plan that would secure the future employment of the existing Trend workforce and provide opportunities to First Nation community members and the Tumbler Ridge community.
"When we acquired 100 per cent of the Peace River operation in late 2011, a major attraction for Anglo American was the potential to unlock additional resources through future mine developments," Mr French said.
"At the same time, we have lifted productivity at Trend mine, increasing production by more than 50 per cent and delivering the best half year production ever seen in the first six months of 2013.
"We will approach the Trend-Roman project with the same dedication and discipline, ensuring the investment delivers significant returns to our shareholders and sustainable value to our neighbouring community," Mr French said.
"The Government of British Columbia, First Nations and our local communities have demonstrated their confidence in our ability to deliver the Trend-Roman project by granting us this permit. In response we have started construction immediately to ensure the benefits and opportunities are shared," he said.
Anglo American has entered into, and is also finalising, economic benefit agreements with the West Moberly First Nation, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Halfway River First Nations and Saulteau First Nations.
Anglo American expects the second phase of the project to be permitted by the end of 2013 and to complete the Roman expansion by the first quarter of 2014.
Notes to editors:
Anglo American is one of the world's largest mining companies, is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. Our portfolio of mining businesses meets our customers' changing needs and spans bulk commodities - iron ore and manganese, metallurgical coal and thermal coal; base metals and minerals - copper, nickel, niobium and phosphates; and precious metals and minerals - in which we are a global leader in both platinum and diamonds. At Anglo American, we are committed to working together with our stakeholders - our investors, our partners and our employees - to create sustainable value that makes a real difference, while upholding the highest standards of safety and responsibility across all our businesses and geographies. The company's mining operations, pipeline of growth projects and exploration activities span southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia and Europe.
SOURCE Anglo American