Coal loading operations at Westshore Terminals in Delta.

New U.S. firm sends coal through Metro Vancouver

Lighthouse Resources shipping coal by train through White Rock, Surrey to Westshore Terminals

A new U.S. coal producer has struck a deal to ship thermal coal by rail through Metro Vancouver.

Lighthouse Resources, the operator of mines in Wyoming and Montana, said it has begun shipments of coal out of Westshore Terminals in Delta to power plants in South Korea after abandoning its push to build a new export terminal in Oregon, where it faced strong opposition.

B.C. climate activists who want U.S. coal kept in the ground as well as local coal train opponents in White Rock and Surrey have opposed plans to build a new coal export terminal on the Fraser River in Surrey.

That proposal by Fraser Surrey Docks got a permit from Metro Vancouver last month to discharge waste water to the regional sewer system but it has not yet sought an air quality permit from the regional district. A court challenge is also pending against Port Metro Vancouver’s authority to approve the project.

Westshore has been operating well below capacity and it lost a major customer a year ago when U.S. coal miner Cloud Peak Energy said it would halt shipments through the Delta terminal for three years due to low coal prices.