The federal authorities is making it harder to develop thermal coal in Canada with a brand new coverage that claims all such mines create “unacceptable environmental effects.”
The transfer erects one other roadblock for Coalspur Mines and its Vista mine enlargement in Alberta, the one such mine in Canada at present earlier than regulators.
Federal Environment Minister Jonathon Wilkinson stated the transfer was made due to the necessity to cease burning coal for energy— the only best supply of greenhouse gases on this planet.
“Phasing out thermal coal is the most critical climate change issue right now,” he stated.
The coverage, launched Friday, doesn’t rule out such improvement.
But approvals will probably be powerful to get.
“The government of Canada considers that any new thermal coal mining projects, or expansions of existing thermal coal mines in Canada, are likely to cause unacceptable environmental effects,” it says. “This position will inform federal decision-making on thermal coal projects.”
It says the federal cupboard should take into account sustainability and local weather change in weighing any new initiatives, no matter dimension.
“What we’re saying is this is something that does not fit from a public policy perspective,” Wilkinson stated. “A proponent can continue on through the process, but that’s a pretty high bar to surmount.”
Coalspur’s Vista mine enlargement venture close to Hinton, Alta., which could be the most important thermal coal mine in North America, has filed an software to the provincial regulator. Wilkinson has dominated the venture ought to face a federal environmental evaluation, though Coalspur is difficult that call in court docket.
The firm has been knowledgeable the brand new coverage will apply to it, Wilkinson stated. He added the coverage offers extra certainty to different firms contemplating related initiatives.
Wilkinson stated he believes the brand new coverage lies inside federal energy regardless of its affect on pure assets, a provincial jurisdiction.
“We’re comfortable this is something within our purview to do,” he stated. “The vast, vast, vast majority of Canadians would think that this is something that’s a no-brainer.”
Canada is a founding member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a group of nations making an attempt to scale back the usage of thermal coal round the globe. Wilkinson stated allowing new mines would hurt Canada’s efforts in that discussion board.
“We’ve been the leader in the international community telling other countries that they should be phasing out thermal coal — and then we approve new thermal coal mines? People would say that doesn’t make any sense.”
Policy does not have an effect on metallurgical coal
The new coverage doesn’t have an effect on metallurgical coal, the kind of coal present in many of the controversial new coal exploration initiatives within the Alberta foothills.
The federal authorities has been requested to step in on a lot of these initiatives. Wilkinson has till July 1 to determine if he’ll request a federal evaluation for Montem Resource’s Tent Mountain mine.
Wilkinson referred to as emissions from steelmaking a distinct problem.
“[Thermal coal] is a short-term issue,” he stated.
“Our commitment with other countries is to help them phase out [coal] nine years from now. That’s not much time.”
Canada has promised to section out the burning of coal for energy by 2030.