Westmoreland to reopen Coal Valley mine

The Coal Valley surface facilities. Credit: Westmoreland Mining Holdings.

Westmoreland Mining Holdings (LLC) subsidiary Prairie Mines and Royalty is reopening the Coal Valley mine near Edson, Alta. The mine has been on care and maintenance since June 2020 due to severe constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Production is scheduled to restart in the fourth quarter, restoring 300 direct jobs and up to 750 indirect jobs.

The reopening will add approximately $30 million per year to the local tax base and at least $3 million in taxes and royalties to the province. It is also expected to generate $60 million annually in economic activity in multiple sectors as the mine purchases supplies and services.

The Coal Valley surface mine exports bituminous coal to customers in Japan and Korea as well as domestically. It was opened in 1978 to supply coal to Ontario Hydro. The mine removes coal with both truck-and-shovel technology and removes overburden using a dragline. Before the shutdown, the mine produced 3 million tonnes/year, although the plant has a capacity of 4 million t/y.

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