Jan 16, 2012
Howe Sound Mine Proposal Synopsis
SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED BURNCO AGGREGATE MINE PROJECT
From the project description summary by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
BURNCO Rock Products Limited is proposing to construct and operate the BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project 35 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, British Columbia. The BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project is expected to produce 1.0 to 1.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel per year for export over a mine life of 20 years. Sand and gravel will be processed in a preparation plant on site and transported by barge to BURNCO Ready-Mix Concrete Plants in Burnaby and Port Kells, British Columbia. The project will include development of a marine barge loading facility at the mine site.
The proposal sites the need for the project as additional aggregate material for concrete to support the housing and transportation needs yet there is a similar if not larger scale operation at Sechelt. The Society suggests that this project is purely an opportunities for the out of province developers to grab a foothold in a local market or possibly an export market. The economy of today is seeing all time lows in housing starts and construction projects leaving one to wonder what the real purpose of the BURNCO project is.
The proposed project is located just beyond sight at the north end of Howe Sound.
“If Howe Sound were in any other part of the world, it would be a great national park.”
Dr. Murray Newman, Past Director, Vancouver Aquarium.
Again from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:
BURNCO Rock Products Limited is planning to use an extraction method, based upon an electrically powered floating clamshell dredge equipped with a primary crusher and a floating conveyor system. No pit dewatering will be required and no explosives will be used. As sand and gravel extraction proceeds through the proposed project’s lifespan, the overburden will be removed and stockpile around the project area. This material can be used for future site reclamation. No material from the pit will be disposed-of at sea. The final site reclamation will include a ground- and surface water-fed pond, with the surrounding areas to be reclaimed by contouring the landscape, re-vegetation and planted forest.
Key Components of the Proposed Project
The construction, operation and decommissioning of the following key components are proposed by BURNCO Rock Products Limited:
|Pit Development||Sand and gravel will be extracted from the pit using an electrically powered floating clamshell dredge equipped with a primary crusher and a floating conveyor system. This equipment will be initially placed at a western location on the deposit, and will dig downward to form a pit. The floating clamshell will work to extract material based on the aggregate deposit and mine plan, gradually enlarging the pond. No pit dewatering will be required and no explosives will be used.|
|Processing Plant||The processing plant will be located in the southwestern corner of the property in a preloaded area above the pit elevation, to enhance water recycling process and drainage. Processed sand and gravel will be stockpiled prior to loading onto barges. Water will be recycled from settling ponds at an estimated capacity of 15,100 Litres per hour. Initially the processing plant may be active 12 hours per day, 260 days per year.|
|Marine Loading Facility||The marine loading facility will be designed to accommodate up to 5,000 to 6,000 deadweight tonnage barges. It will consist of a limited series of pilings that support a fixed, above-ground electric conveyor with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes per hour. The location of the barge loading facility has been proposed within the exiting foreshore lease and log dump area. The barge loading facility is expected to be operational approximately 300 days per year.[Conveyors moving gravel from the excavated creek out across the water to barges, gravel dumping 300 days a year - noise pollution that may be heard as far away as Bowen, fishing is likely to decline]|
|Shipping||During operation, tug boats will deliver empty barges and pick up aggregate filled barges. A mooring buoy will be located in deeper water for barge storage within the lease and the log dump area. Filled barges will be towed through existing barging routes and navigational channels from the site through the Ramillies Channel, Howe Sound to the Fraser River through established shipping traffic lanes. [The plan on file shows barges using the shipping lane through Howe Sound, between Gambier/Bowen and the mainland.] Filled barges will use the North Arm of the Fraser River to deliver barges to existing BURNCO facilities in Burnaby, and will use the Main Arm of the Fraser River to deliver BURNCO facilities in Langley. BURNCO presently uses Seaspan tugs and barges to deliver aggregate to existing BURNCO facilities from Port McNeil. Seaspan and other tug barge, and log booming operators use the Ramillies Channel in Howe Sound and the exiting shipping routes in the Fraser River to move bulk materials.|
|Reclamation, Closure and Monitoring||The proposed project will use progressive reclamation of the site, consisting of ongoing reclamation activities taking place alongside of ongoing extraction throughout the proposed operations area. Site planning will include landscaping, further design and development of the existing training berm along the north edge logging road of the pit area, and creation of surface water features, fisheries habitats and re-vegetation throughout the site. Ongoing monitoring will be conducted for relevant noise and dust, water quality parameters, and fish and wildlife resources. [A pit filled with water and gravel getting ever larger "...will be on the order of 400,000 tonnes per year, increasing to 1 to 1.6 million tonnes per annum...". With annual production spikes to as much as 4 million tonnes per annum, that's a lot of material. Imagine a pit mine at least 5 football fields in each direction and over 15 meters deep that won't affect the environment. ]|
The full documentation can be found here, and if you think this is just another project to get a few people wealthy or will disturb the lands and waters within Howe Sound beyond any reasonable measure then use our forms or the email links on our cover page for this story and make your voice heard. Set a precedent and don’t let big industry dictate terms to you.
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Reference Number: 11-03-54754 January 3, 2012.
- BURNCO Aggregate Project, Howe Sound, BC. Project Description submitted to BC Environmental Assessment Office Dec 16, 2011
- DFO FILE NO. 09-HPAC-PA1-00024: PROPOSED MCNAB VALLEY AGGREGATE MINE PROJECT Letter to Burnco of Jun 27, 2011