Underground mining at Quinsam Coal will be suspended indefinitely

Quinsam Coal suspends operations

Due to a prolonged and steep decline in thermal coal prices, changes in market demand and policy disincentives, Quinsam Coal cannot operate economically and will suspend coal production indefinitely, General Manager Gary Gould announced last week.

Mine operations will be placed into “care and maintenance” and all contractual supply commitments will be met from existing inventories.

Quinsam will continue to meet its obligations under the Mines Act and the Environmental Management Act. Quinsam’s current workforce of 66 will be reduced significantly during the transition to the care and maintenance mode.

“This is a sad day for us,” Gould said. “As an important contributor to the mid-Vancouver Island economy, coal from Quinsam has been an important source of locally-sourced fuel and raw material feedstock for the Pacific Northwest cement industry since 1987.”

Quinsam Coal began as an open pit mine in 1986. It switched to underground mining in 1993 with open-pit mining ceasing in 1994.

Quinsam produced high-quality thermal coal that was sold to the cement industry in British Columbia and to international cement and power-generating customers around the Pacific Rim.

Coal from Quinsam was trucked to the Middle Point barge-loading facility in Campbell River and then was loaded onto barges for either: 1) direct shipment to the cement industry, or 2) shipment to Texada Island, where it is transloaded onto Handymax and Panamax-class ships for delivery to international customers.