Hillsborough acquires coal rights in East Kootenays

Hillsborough Resources owns the Quinsam Coal Mine in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island.

In 2003, Hillsborough teamed up with Cinergy Corp., of Cincinnatti, proposing to build a 150 megawatt “mine-mouth” coal fired generation plant, to use waste-coals from the mine.

The customer for the power was to be BC Hydro, which has been looking for up to 300 MW of on-island generated firm capacity in a Call for Tenders process. The Quinsam Power project was expected to be the first coal-fired generation project to be proposed in British Columbia within a generation (since BC Hydro’s failed Hat Creek generation proposal in the late 1970s-early 1980s).

At the end of April, Hillsborough’s hopes were dashed, when BC Hydro excluded the Quinsam project from its shortlist.

Hillsborough is also keen to develop coalbed methane in their coal properties on Vancouver Island. In 2002, the company announced a partnership with Texas Canadian Ventures, a company registered in Yukon.’

Texas-Canadian Ventures’ president is an insurance broker from Lubbock Texas. The company’s vice-president is Gilbert Dozier, sentenced to 18 years for extortion and racketeering in Lousiana, where he was once a state official. Dozier’s interest in coalbed methane in British Columbia extends to Hudson’s Hope, where he is associated with Peace River Corporation.

In May 2004, Hillsborough announced an agreement with the government of BC, whereby the company will acquire drilling rights in their owned coal lands on Vancouver Island.

At the end of June 2004, the company announced options to acquire coal rights on Bingay Creek, west of the Fording Coal Mine, north of Elkford, in the East Kootenays.

A test sample of coal from the Bingay Creek property is to be mined and shipped in the fall.

More about the Bingay Creek property

The seller may be William or Robert Shenfield. Documents from the Ministry of Energy and Mines state that “… one individual, Mr. W. Shenfield of Fernie, holds a group of licences at Bingay Creek. ”

This 1996 report by William Shenfield and Stephen Gardner, describe exploratory work up to 1996. They envisioned a small, 100,000 tonnes per year operation, with the coal sold directly to an existing mine or a local customer.

Stephen Gardner appears more recently as Director of Exploration for Hillsborough Resources.

The ideal local customer could be Hillsborough itself. Its hopes for power generation at Campbell River are shot, but it has access to the expertise of Cinergy, and may well have the encouragement of Elk Valley Coal Corp, who might prefer that a small operator break the ice on coal-fired generation.

Limited rail capacity out of the East Kootenays could also mean that Hillsborough may have difficulty moving the coal to a remote market.


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