The steelmaking coal project will have significant adverse effects on the environment and certain First Nations, as per the review

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The Grassy Mountain Coal project is planned to be developed as an open-pit operation. (Credit: S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay)

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) said that a joint review panel has determined that the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal project in Alberta, Canada by Riversdale Resources is not in the public interest.

The steelmaking coal project has been proposed to be developed with an investment of around CAD800m ($646.92m).

AER said that the panel has completed its project review and has submitted its final report to the Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

According to AER, the panel found that the Grassy Mountain Coal project will have significant adverse environmental impact on surface water quality, whitebark pine, westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat, vegetation species, rough fescue grasslands, and community biodiversity.

Besides, the project will have considerable adverse impact on physical and cultural heritage of certain First Nations, as per the report.

The panel, in its capacity as the AER, ruled that the adverse environmental effects of the Grassy Mountain Coal project on surface water quality and also westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat outweigh its positive economic effects.

The coal mine project’s construction is estimated to create nearly 500 jobs followed by 385 full-time jobs for its operations once it begins full production.

AER president and CEO Laurie Pushor said: “The panel’s decision reflects the AER’s commitment to making evidence-based and risk-informed decisions in the public interest.”

The panel has rejected the project’s applications under the Coal Conservation Act and related applications under the Water Act, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, and Public Lands Act.

Riversdale Resources stated: “As part of its review to better understand the report’s conclusion, the Company will be consulting with legal counsel to review its options moving forward.”

As per the project application, Riversdale Resources’ 100% subsidiary Benga Mining plans to develop an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the Crowsnest Pass, around 7km north of the Blairmore community in southwest Alberta.

The production capacity of the Grassy Mountain Coal project is planned to be up to 4.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per annum through an operating mine-life of nearly 23 years.