A joint federal-provincial panel questioned the ability of Benga Mining, owned by Riversdale Resources, to control the release of selenium from its proposed Grassy Mountain mine. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Federal government says proposed coal mine in southwestern Alberta can’t proceed

Federal government says proposed coal mine in southwestern Alberta can’t proceed

OTTAWA — The federal government says the proposed Grassy Mountain coal project in southwestern Alberta cannot proceed.

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

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

Wilkinson says the decision was based on information including the findings of a joint review panel report.

He says the project would have likely caused harm to surface water quality, threatened species including the westslope cutthroat trout and whitebark pine trees, and the physical and cultural heritage of the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika First Nations.

Benga Mining Limited has said the proposed metallurgical coal mine in the Crowsnest Pass area would create hundreds of jobs and produce up to 4.5 million tonnes of coal per year over a mine life of approximately 23 years.

“The Government of Canada must make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations,” Wilkinson said in the release Friday.

“It is in Canada’s best interests to safeguard our waterways for healthy fish populations like the Westslope Cutthroat Trout, respect Indigenous peoples’ culture and way of life, and protect the environment for future generations.”

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