Michel Coal Project

  • The Michel (pronounced Michelle) Coal Project targets high-quality steelmaking coal.
  • Production – 2 million clean tonnes of coal per year.
  • 60,400m of exploration drilling completed.
  • Anticipated 25-year mine life.
  • Adjacent to existing rail, road, and infrastructure.
  • Up to 500 construction jobs.
  • Approximately 300 operational jobs.
  • Anticipated 1400ha footprint.

We are stewards of the land and must always keep in mind that actions today impact how future generations’ will use and enjoy the land. It is our acceptance and responsibility of this principle that guides our mine development. It is with this in-mind that we are taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to all aspects of our operations and are considering closure at the beginning.

Our approach includes early and ongoing discussions with local communities and indigenous peoples. It includes building environmental protections into the mine design. It includes creating safe, family-supporting jobs for hundreds of people. It includes mining quality, high-grade steelmaking coal that will be used to build hospitals, schools, and bridges, to name a few. Steel that will be critical to our transition to a renewable economy.

The Michel Coal Project began by bringing water and mining experts with experience from around the globe together to propose designs that would protect the environment and generate strong economics. Many designs were explored and refined. The result is a economically strong mine design that protects water quality, minimizes dust generation, and returns habitat to wildlife throughout the mine life by using innovative globally proven technologies.

Water Protection

The management, monitoring, and protection of freshwater is of great importance to North Coal. Our commitment to water management and water protection began from the outset of the project in 2013 and has been a guiding element of mine design every step of the way. Additionally, North Coal remains steadfast in our commitment to the targets established in the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan (EVWQP).

Below: Suboxic ex-pit mine rock storage facility (MRSF) design.

We are committed to keeping clean water clean and minimizing the water we touch. We use a multi-prong approach to doing this.

  1. Divert water around the mine site. The more we can eliminate mine-water contact the more water we ensure stays clean.
  2. Passive water treatment. By using saturated rock fills (SRFs) and creating suboxic rock storage facilities, we can minimize the elements that enter the waterways, elements like Selenium.
  3. Active water treatment. Where necessary, we will treat water to ensure it is safe for the ecosystem before releasing it.

We are planning for the long-term and creating engineered landforms that copy natural processes to recreate a stable ecosystem that inhibit the movement of selenium and constituents of concern.

We have responded to the challenge posed by peak selenium loading predictions in the EVWQP by focusing on a mine design that reduces selenium at the source.

Suboxic is a term describing very low oxygen conditions.
It is important as the absence of oxygen prevents the mobilization of selenium and nitrates.

Air Quality Protection

We are protecting water and air quality by building the MRSF from the bottom-up. The engineered MRSF minimizes dust because it is built by short 10 meter dumps to create layers (rather than 100meter plus dumps). By building from the bottom-up, we can reclaim the bottom portion of the mine rock storage facility while adding to the top of the facility.

By taking a holistic approach to mine development, we can start reclamation earlier in the mine life and while adding to the top of the MRSF.  This is important because it allows for progressive reclamation and creates a stable engineered land-form that has vegetation for wildlife habitat and corridors while improving air quality.

Carbon Strategy

Air Quality Protection

Mining companies will play a key role in reducing global carbon emissions and slowing climate change by providing the resources required for energy transition and global decarbonization. Steel and metallurgical coal are key to this. Decarbonizing the mineral extraction process represents a hugely impactful step that the mining industry can take in reducing contribution to global GHG emissions. As of 2020, the mining industry is responsible for 4-7% percent of global GHG emissions.

North Coal will produce a premium mid-volatile hard coking coal with a high CSR –exactly the product that global blast furnaces are expected to need to reduce coke loadings and decarbonize on their path to net zero. This product will be in strong demand –a tight market that is set to get much tighter through to 2050 and beyond. In this regard, North Coal’s product will be an important element of global decarbonization given the steel industry is responsible for about 8% of global GHG emissions. North Coal’s objective is to produce this product with the lowest possible carbon footprint. We expect that by providing a product that is desperately needed by steel mills and with a very low or even net zero carbon footprint attached to its production, that North Coal’s product will be in very strong demand, even relative to other high CSR HCCs.

In 2021, North Coal entered a partnership with the Bradshaw Research Institute (BRIMM) at the University of British Columbia to study projected carbon emissions at the Project level in detail and determine development options with a very low carbon footprint and the objective of being a net zero scope 1 and 2 producer.


Mining and the natural resource sector provide quality jobs for more than 30,000 British Columbians. In 2017, the sector contributed an estimated $9.9 billion to the BC economy while generating economic spin-offs in local communities through-out BC (BC Mining Jobs Task Force Report).

North Coal anticipates 500 construction jobs for 18-24 months. Once operational, we anticipate roughly 300 family-supporting jobs. Nearly all the current team lives in the Elk Valley, and it is the hope and desire of North Coal that our future employees will also call the Elk Valley home on a full-time basis.

Our priorities include creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. There will be a variety of jobs for a variety of people. At the end of the day, we want people to have good, safe jobs that they are proud of. Please refer to our career page for current openings.

The mining sector is intertwined with its neighbouring communities – the sector’s well-paying jobs form the economic backbone of towns and cities across BC.
(BC Mining Jobs Task Force Report)

Within the project area is a site called the McGilvary pit, shown here. Exploration in the area began in the 1960’s and continued to late 1960.

Coal estimates for the area suggested a potential of 15 million tonnes raw coal.

The early 1990’s saw a renewed interest in the area and more drill holes in the late 1990’s suggested a potential of 20 million tonnes raw coal.

In 2013, North Coal expanded on that early exploration and found potential coal in the area of 150 million tonnes.