NEWS RELEASE · 23rd April 2010
Ministry of Transportation
Commercial trucks will soon be allowed to haul larger mining loads from the Yukon south along Highway 37 to the Port of Stewart, benefiting both the environment and the local economy, announced Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond today.
"Shipping out of the Port of Stewart will allow the economic benefits to remain in British Columbia, specifically the communities of Stewart and Dease Lake" said Bond. "Allowing larger, more efficient trucks will reduce the number of vehicles on the road, cut transportation costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain our provincial highway system, by reducing pavement damage."
"Mining is a driving force in B.C.'s economy, generating new investment and jobs for British Columbians," said Minister of State for Mining Randy Hawes. "The new bulk haul program is another example of how the Province is working with industry and stakeholders, to create jobs, support the mining industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Under the bulk haul program, shipping companies can enter into agreements with the Province to operate trucks that comply with axle weight limits, but exceed gross vehicle weight restrictions.
Beginning in June, Yukon Zinc Corp. will be the first company to take advantage of the new program, by transporting zinc, copper and lead concentrate along Highway 37 from the Wolverine Mine in the Yukon through to the Port of Stewart, instead of shipping it to the Port of Skagway in Alaska. The vehicle being used for this haul will have a gross vehicle weight of 72,300 kilograms, up from 63,500 kilograms, which will reduce the number of trips by 17 per cent.
"The bulk haul program is the result of a tremendous amount of effort and co- ordination between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, industry and stakeholders. On behalf of Yukon Zinc Corporation, we extend our sincere thanks to the contribution made by everyone involved," said Raymond Mah, chief operating officer of Yukon Zinc Corporation.
The new bulk haul program is expected to create 50 full-time driver and mechanic jobs in the communities of Stewart and Dease Lake, in addition to several port worker positions. The program has the potential to expand to other appropriate routes around the province where larger mining loads would be permissible, and is available to any mining company that wishes to enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
"I would like to welcome Yukon Zinc to our community and extend our warmest welcome to Maple Leaf Loading, who will be hauling the ore for Yukon Zinc through our port. This haul would not have been possible without the hard work and efforts made by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in keeping jobs in a B.C. community," said District of Stewart Mayor Angela Brand-Danuser.
Northern Development Initiative Trust is providing Maple Leaf Loading Ltd with a direct job-creation incentive valued at up to $440,000 to support creation of transportation sector employment in northwest B.C.
The vehicles on the Yukon Zinc haul will operate under certain conditions, including:
* Vehicles are restricted to specified highways.
* Each truck must have an onboard electronic device to record driver hours of service and vehicle speed.
* Drivers must have a minimum of 100,000 kilometres driving experience on similar highways with similar equipment, have passed a professional driver course, and have an accident-free driving record for the past two years.
Across northern British Columbia alone this year, over $200 million has been committed to 70 new and ongoing highway projects that are expected to create over 1,200 jobs. This brings the total transportation investment in the North since 2001-02 to $1.5 billion.