Company ‘shocked’ by Ottawa’s decision to block proposed coal mine in southwestern Alberta

Click to play video: 'Hundreds gather in Crowsnest Pass in support of coal mining'
Hundreds gather in Crowsnest Pass in support of coal mining
Hundreds of people gathered in the Crowsnest Pass on Thursday night looking for answers after the Grassy Mountain Coal Project was denied by a joint review panel last month. As Danica Ferris reports, organizers said residents in the area were disappointed with the decision – Jul 23, 2021

The company behind the proposed Grassy Mountain coal project in southwestern Alberta says it is shocked by the federal government’s decision that it cannot proceed.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement in a news release Friday.

He said while mining is important to the economy, coal can include significant adverse environmental effects.

Wilkinson said the decision was based on information that included the findings of a joint review panel report.

Read more: Ottawa blocks development of controversial proposed Alberta coal mine

Benga Mining Limited says in a statement this week that the minister’s determination was made despite applications being filed with the Court of Appeal of Alberta by the company and two separate First Nations.

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The company says its legal counsel wrote to the minister requesting he take no action at this time to allow it to pursue legitimate legal avenues on appeal.

Read more: Appeals requested over Grassy Mountain Coal Project decision

“We are shocked that Canada’s Minister of the Environment should take such a precipitous step before our legal appeal could be heard in court,” Benga CEO John Wallington said in the release.

“By ignoring Benga’s legitimate request that he hold his decision in abeyance whilst the legal appeal process runs its course, the minister has ridden roughshod over the legal rights of Benga, Piikani Nation and Stoney Nakoda Nations.

“The minister’s actions may have far-reaching implications beyond any one project, and sends a strong message to potential investors that Canada’s regulatory regime is uncertain.”

Wilkinson said in the news release last week that the project would have likely caused harm to surface water quality, to species including the threatened westslope cutthroat trout and endangered whitebark pine trees, and to the physical and cultural heritage of the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika First Nations.


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