Mt. Milligan presents

A representative from Mount Milligan and Thompson Creek presented last week on their proposed environmental assessment (EAC) amendment.

A representative from Mount Milligan and Thompson Creek presented last week on their proposed environmental assessment (EAC) amendment.

Jocelyn Fraser, director of corporate responsibility for Thompson Creek Metals, spoke to mayor and council and a large group of public.

Fraser came to give reasons for the proposed 450-person operational camp being proposed and the proposal for the location change for the ore load-out facility.

Fraser indicated increasing capital costs as part of the hurdle the company is having to overcome during the construction phase.

While the estimated cost for the project started out at $900 million, with increasing costs for many materials given the large number of projects now being initiated globally, this estimate has since soared to $1.4 billion.

They are also challenged with a shortage of skilled labour, driving up labour costs as well.

Mining stocks have already fallen, with Thompson Creek stocks having fallen significantly.

“We’re being very cost-conscious and we’re looking for every way we can keep the project on track,” said Fraser.

While the original plan for a permanent camp said the company would like to apply to have a 300-person camp on site at Mount Milligan, the actual EAC amendment has asked for a 450-person camp instead.

“It was our original intention that we would have accommodation for about 300 of the workforce, what we’re also asking for is the capacity to accommodate contractors, maintenance personnel, visitors from other sites, temporary employees,” said Fraser.

The proposed camp would provide gym and fitness facilities as well as living and eating facilities for those on site.

The amendment application also asks to change the location of the load-out facility in the original application from Fort St. James to Mackenzie.

The original plan was approved to build a rail load-out facility in the industrial area on the Tachie Road to ship out the metal concentrate after it was brought down in trucks from the mine.

Thompson Creek now says they would prefer to use Mackenzie as the location for the load-out because the connector road has been upgraded to accommodate the concentrate trucks since the original application, and there would be no use of public roads to ship the material out from Mackenzie, only forestry roads.

In addition, there is a Kemess loud-out Thompson Creek may be able to negotiate a lease on instead of having to construct their own initially, which Kemess has expressed a willingness to do.

The load out would produce three to six jobs for the site, with some short-term construction jobs were they to need to build a new facility.

“We want to be considered to be a valued partner in the communities in which we operate,” said Fraser.

“We will be submitting some comments regarding the change,” said Mayor Rob MacDougall. “I guess for us, the camp may assist in some ways in that the single workers, they tend to be transients and for us, transients don’t help our communities, so that may be a benefit for us.”

“What we’re after is the family that can come and live in our community, contribute, be volunteers, support our businesses and our schools, etc.” he said. “While we’re opposed to the size of the camp, we’re not necessarily opposed to the camp in general.”

In regards to the load out, MacDougall said the community was hoping to help offset the loss of the Stuart Lake Lumber Mill jobs with the jobs at the load out. The mayor also expressed his desire to see the planned four-on, four-off work shift for the mine in writing to ensure the camp does not later become a way to bring in more workers from far outside the region.