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Long running proposal gains new partner

World Cement,

Canada’s Athabasca Minerals has agreed to purchase a 25% stake in a ‘pit-to-pier’ mining project in Washington state, USA, that has been in development for more than seven years.

Thorndyke Resource
The Thorndyke Resource project is majority owned by Fred Hill Materials, a local concrete producer. It proposes to extract sand and gravel from the Hood Canal, and transport the materials by belt conveyor over 4 miles to a 900+ ft. pier. The project has been going through county approvals and environmental reviews for seven years, and is being strongly contested by environmental groups that believe the project would be damaging to the Hood Canal’s ecosystem and would industrialise the area.

Giving back
Thorndyke Resource in turn has pledged 0.5 million t of sand and gravel to restore damaged beaches throughout the Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Representatives of the company have stressed that Thorndyke Resource will bring huge benefits to the area, including 4500 jobs, revenue of US$ 600 million for the state, as well as supplying much needed raw materials for environmental and construction projects.

Statewide significance
Given all this, Thorndyke Resource asked Jefferson County to treat the so-called ‘pit-to-pier’ proposal as a project of statewide significance, as a means to expedite the review process. That request was denied by the county; the County Administrator explained that the county did not want to appear to be a ‘co-applicant’ or advocate of the project, which will remain subject to the regular review process.

New partner
Athabasca Minerals is based in Edmonton, Alberta, and deals primarily in the exploration and development of aggregates and industrial minerals. It will provide funding to the value of US$ 3 million and assume a minority partnership in Thorndyke Resource, subject to approvals.

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