Alberta Mine Decision Still Unknown


Alberta mine decision is still unknown as government weighs its options.

The Alberta mine decision with the federal government is still up in the air as cabinet members convene to deliberate. Meanwhile, Teck Resources Ltd. and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have petitioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for assistance in swaying the issue.

In a hand-delivered letter, Kenney wrote that it was in the best interest of the people of Alberta, as well as Canada as a whole, to approve this project.

Despite climate and wildlife concerns, the government has until the end of February to make a final decision. However, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a speech that he was undecided if on the necessity to postpone the decision further.

Teck, the mining firm behind the proposed project, says that their bases are covered.

The Frontier Project has undergone extensive review by provincial and federal regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous communities, and is now being reviewed by a joint provincial-federal review panel.

Teck Frontier Brochure

In contrast to other projects, this project now has the full support of the affected First Nations people. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation signed his support in an agreement between Tech and the indigenous tribes.

The agreement outlines the mutual relationship between their community and Teck. Specifically, it regards popular interests like employment and the potential for revenue sharing. In addition, it supports the protection of the local environment and wildlife population.

Early success and political pressure bring more tension

Despite these early signs of success, the federal governments silence has caused noticeable stress on the province and the mining company. However, there’s opposite pressure on the prime minister as well.

In the last election cycle, Trudeau ran on a platform of stricter regulation on the carbon footprint of the country. His plan of reducing emotions to a net-zero level by 2050 is not under threat. Despite the experts at Teck showing metrics that put the emissions under the 100 megaton cap, politics may overtake this.

Experts also speculate that a negative response from Ottawa would have rippling effects on the future economy. Future investments and projects may feel the impact. As a result, the communities that benefit and grow wit this could be at stake.

However, analysists, as well as Kenney himself, argues that the benefits outweigh any perceived detraction. The 292-square kilometre compound would employ over 7,000 construction employees, and 2,500 permanent staff.

260,000 barrels is the estimated production when at full capacity. With about $12 billion in tax revenue on the line, it makes sense for Alberta to feel so invested in the issue.