Coal company sues B.C. over Flathead mining ban
A coal mining company is suing the B.C. government for half a billion dollars following its decision to ban mining in the Flathead Valley in the southeastern corner of the province.
In 2010 the B.C. government bowed to international pressure and banned all mining and oil and gas development in the pristine valley, which borders national parks in Alberta and the U.S.
It has since been negotating settlements with several mining companies that had claims in the valley.
On Monday the Cline Mining Corp filed a notice of claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia claiming that its coal licence and coal licence applications rights were "expropriated, taken or injuriously affected" by the ban.
Cline said the compensation it seeks includes the loss of the value of the licences "estimated at in excess of $500 million on a net present value basis over the expected lives of the mines."
On Tuesday, the B.C. Energy and Mines Ministry issued a statement, saying the two sides have been attempting to negotiate a settlement but remain apart.
"There are 10 mineral tenure holders in the Flathead Watershed Area and we've settled with six of them for a total of $4.9 million," said the statement.
"We are far apart on negotiations with Cline which is one of the tenure holders and have been trying to come to a reasonable settlement."
The ministry statement said there would not be further comment because Cline's claim is now being before the courts.
"There are cases where government makes decisions to balance development with environmental values and land and resource management initiatives. The establishment of the Flathead Watershed Area Act is one of these decisions," said the statement.