News Release
Joint Review Panel for Grassy Mountain Coal Project Concludes its Review

June 17, 2021 — The joint review panel for Benga Mining Limited's Grassy Mountain Coal Project has completed its review.

The panel submitted its report to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. In its report, the panel sets out its rationale, conclusions and recommendations for the Government of Canada.

The report includes the panel's decisions in its capacity as the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for the provincial applications.

The panel concluded that the project is likely to result in:

  • significant adverse environmental effects on surface water quality, westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat, whitebark pine, rough fescue grasslands, and vegetation species and community biodiversity; and
  • significant adverse effects on physical and cultural heritage of some First Nations.

In its capacity as the AER, the panel determined that the adverse environmental effects on surface water quality and westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat outweigh the positive economic impacts of the project and the project is not in the public interest. The panel has denied Benga's applications under the Coal Conservation Act and related applications under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Water Act, and Public Lands Act.

The panel's report, which includes an executive summary, is available on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry, reference number 80101, and on the Alberta Energy Regulator website.

About the Project

Benga Mining Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Riversdale Resources Limited, proposed to construct and operate an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the Crowsnest Pass, approximately seven kilometres north of the community of Blairmore, in southwest Alberta. As proposed, the production capacity of the project would have been a maximum of 4.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year over an operating mine-life of about 23 years.

About the Joint Review Panel

The joint review panel for the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Chief Executive Officer of the AER to assess the environmental effects of the project and review the associated applications. The review was completed in accordance with the Agreement to Establish a Joint Review Panel for the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, issued on August 16, 2018.

During its review, the panel held virtual public hearing sessions and heard extensive evidence from the proponent, Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations, the public, and the federal government.

Media may contact

Cara Tobin, Public Relations
Alberta Energy Regulator

Kenneth Downs, Communications
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

Document Reference Number: 5095

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