Peace River Coal Inc.

Tumbler Ridge BC (9/9/2021) – Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC) operates the Trend-Roman coal mine located approximately 30 km south of Tumbler Ridge, BC. PRC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anglo American. The mine started operations in 2008 and moved into a care and maintenance phase in 2015.

PRC holds a permit that authorizes the discharge of treated effluent to Babcock Creek, Gordon Creek and the Murray River. These discharges are subject to specific terms and conditions such as:

Discharge quantity and quality (including selenium)
Maintenance of authorized works
Emergency procedures monitoring
Reporting

PRC must meet all permit conditions at all times including operational periods and periods of care and maintenance.

Selenium limits are in place because high levels in surface water, groundwater, soils and vegetation can bioaccumulate and potentially become toxic to aquatic life, birds and mammals including humans.

Effluent at the site is directed to one of nine sedimentation ponds. One of the sedimentation ponds includes a water treatment facility that treats the effluent to reduce the selenium before discharging. This system is not designed to treat the current amount of effluent.

In 2019, PRC failed to comply with their Permit and exceeded the authorized selenium limits in Babcock and Gordon Creeks over 40 times. They also failed to provide six quarterly reports and one annual report.

This resulted in three administrative penalties totaling $809,700. The non-compliances are expected to continue until treatment capacity increases.