The company proposing the $20.6-billion Frontier Oil Sands Mine says it has achieved its target of signing deals with all of the Indigenous groups who live near the northern Alberta megaproject.
Doug Brown, director of public affairs for Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., says it has successfully concluded negotiations with the Mikisew Cree First Nation of Fort Chipewyan, a small community near the project site north of Fort McMurray.
The news of a 14th deal being signed emerged as joint federal-provincial review hearings for the project began Tuesday in Fort McMurray.
It was confirmed by Melody Lepine, director of government and industry relations for the Mikisew Cree, who added her community will continue to take part in the five-week hearing to ensure its voice is heard by government and regulators on environmental and other matters.
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Brown says the “participation agreement” will support engagement between the company and the First Nation and sets out a framework for co-operation in environmental stewardship, community-based monitoring and economic opportunities.
If it’s approved and sanctioned, Frontier would be built in two phases and would have a mine life of 41 years, delivering over $70 billion in taxes and royalties to all levels of government over that period, the company says.
“The company is actually being very supportive on a number of our recommendations to the provincial and federal governments in terms of should the project be approved, conditions on the approval, recommendations of what Alberta and Canada should be doing to address concerns,” said Lepine.
“An example is the development of the biodiversity stewardship area, which would be a buffer just north of the Frontier project and a protected area just south of Wood Buffalo National Park.”
The hearings are being held before a joint review panel of the Alberta Energy Regulator and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.