PROJECT AGREEMENT FOR THE MURRAY RIVER COAL MINE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

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PREAMBLE

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency(CEA Agency) has commenced an environmental assessment (EA) pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) for HD Mining International Limited’s (the Proponent) Murray River Coal Mine (the Project).

The proposed project consists of the construction, operation and decommissioning of an underground coal mine and supporting infrastructure, including a 5.8 kilometre rail load-out. The project is located 12.5 kilometres southwest of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. The proposed project would produce six million tonnes of metallurgical coal per annum for an estimated mine life of 31 years.

The CEA Agency and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) have agreed to coordinate the federal and provincial EAs to the extent possible pursuant to the intent of the Canada-British Columbia Agreement for Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

Nothing in this Project Agreement (the Agreement) fetters the powers, statutory authorities and functions of federal departments/agencies and their respective Ministers.

The signatories to this Agreement (the Parties) commit to work together to facilitate an effective, accountable, transparent, timely and predictable federal review in relation to the proposed project and to contribute to fulfilling the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal groups.

1.0 PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to provide detailed information pertaining to the federal review process where the CEA Agency is the responsible authority during the EA. For further information regarding the federal review process, please refer to The Federal Review Process for Major Projects: Project Agreement Companion Document (PDF, 144 KB).

2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following federal departments and agencies have identified an interest in the Project, and will participate in the federal review:

  • Responsible authority: The CEA Agency will ensure that an EA is conducted, an EA Report is prepared and that an EA Decision Statement is issued;
  • Federal authorities (FAs):  Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Transport Canada (TC), Health Canada (HC), Environment Canada (EC), Canadian Transportation Agency may be in possession of specialist or expert information or knowledge with respect to the Project;
  • Regulatory departments: DFO and TC may have regulatory and statutory duties in relation to the Project;
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has advisory responsibilities in relation to the Project to support consistency with the Government of Canada’s Whole of Government approach to Aboriginal consultation activities; and,
  • The Major Projects Management Office will provide oversight and advice throughout the entire federal review in relation to the Project to ensure adherence to the service standards and roles and responsibilities of all Parties as described in the Agreement and the Companion Document.

3.0 Aboriginal Consultation

The Parties are committed to a Whole of Government approach to Aboriginal consultation that is integrated with the EA and regulatory process, to the extent possible. For more information on the Whole of Government approach, including roles and responsibilities of departments and agencies, as well as coordination during the project review, please refer to Annex I of the Companion Document.

Where applicable, the terms and conditions of all existing agreements or protocols and/or MOUs between the Crown and Aboriginal groups will be respected.

4.0 TIMELINES

Timelines identified in the Agreement represent the time expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks. The timelines do not account for time taken by the Proponent to collect information or undertake a study at the request of the CEA Agency during the EA or regulatory departments during the regulatory phase. The target timelines for the federal review are as follows:

  1. Completion of the EA, as per CEAA 2012 – 365 days from the posting of the Notice of Commencement (NoC) on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site (CEARIS) to the Minister of the Environment's (the Minister) EA Decision Statement about whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
  2. Regulatory decisions pursuant to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act  – 90 days from the Minister’s EA Decision Statement posted on the CEARIS, assuming submission of all applications no later than the time of the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

5.0 SIGNATORIES

The Parties hereto have signed the Agreement, in counterpart, on the dates indicated below.

______________________________                                    November 7, 2013
Serge P. Dupont                                                                    Date
Deputy Minister                                                                     
Natural Resources Canada

______________________________                                    November 14, 2013
Ron Hallman                                                                         Date
President
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

______________________________                                    November 19, 2013
Matthew King                                                                       Date
Deputy Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

______________________________                                    November 20, 2013
Helena Borges                                                                        Date
Associate Deputy Minister
Infrastructure Canada
(on behalf of Louis Lévesque
Deputy Minister, Transport Canada)

_____________________________                                      November 15, 2013
Bob Hamilton                                                                        Date
Deputy Minister
Environment Canada

______________________________                                    November 13, 2013
Michael Wernick                                                                    Date
Deputy Minister
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Annex I

Key Milestones and Service Standards for the Environmental Assessment and Aboriginal Consultation

  Milestone Lead Support As Needed Timeline/ Completion Date
1 Post the Notice of Commencement (NoC) on the CEARIS CEA Agency FAs Day 0
(May 31, 2013)
2 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EIS Guidelines CEA Agency FAs Day 1-30 (30 Days) (May 31, 2013 – June 30, 2013)
3 Finalize the EIS Guidelines and provide to the Proponent CEA Agency FAs Day 31-60 (30 Days) (July 1, 2013 – July 30, 2013)
4 Submit the EIS and EIS Summary Proponent CEA Agency, FAs To be determined by the Proponent
5 Review of the EIS to ensure the requirements of the EIS Guidelines are met CEA Agency FAs Day 61-90 (30 Days)
6 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the EIS summary CEA Agency FAs Day 91-120 (30 Days)
7 Federal review and provision of comments on the EIS to the Proponent CEA Agency FAs Day 91-135 (45 Days)
8 Submit revised EIS or additional information, as appropriate Proponent CEA Agency, FAs To be determined by the Proponent
9 Review the revised EIS or additional information, as appropriate CEA Agency FAs Day 136-165 (30 Days)
10 Prepare the draft Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) CEA Agency FAs Day 166-215 (50 Days)
11 Federal review and provision of comments on the draft EAR to the CEA Agency FAs   Day 216-245 (30 Days)
12 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EAR CEA Agency FAs Day 216-245 (30 Days)
13 Finalize the EAR and submit to the Minister CEA Agency FAs Day 246-305 (60 Days)
14 Issue the EA Decision Statement Minister CEA Agency Day 306-365 (60 Days)
15 Post the Minister’s EA Decision Statement on the CEARIS CEA Agency   Day 366-372 (7 Days)

Annex II

Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the EA1

[Larger image - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the EA]

1The Gantt chart is a baseline against which the timelines, identified in the Agreement expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks for the EA, will be tracked. The timelines do not account for time taken by participants who are not signatories to this Agreement, such as the Proponent, provinces, Aboriginal groups, the public or other stakeholders.


Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase2

[Large image - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase]

2The Gantt chart is a baseline against which the timelines, identified in the Agreement expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks for the Regulatory Phase, will be tracked. The timelines do not account for time taken by participants who are not signatories to this Agreement, such as the Proponent, provinces, Aboriginal groups, the public or other stakeholders.