AWA’s Statement of Concern on Summit Coal Inc.’s Mine 14
August 28, 2023
In the subalpine and montane ecosystems of Grande Mountain, Summit Coal Inc. hopes to develop an underground, room-and-pillar style coal mine just over three kilometres northeast of Grande Cache, overlooking the Rocky Mountain hamlet. Details of the proposal include the extraction of 1.3 million tonnes of raw, metallurgical coal from the site annually, spanning around 250 acres on the surface and over 1,200 acres underground.
The proposed project footprint of Mine 14 overlaps important mountain goat and bighorn sheep habitat, Alberta’s Grande Cache Grizzly Bear Management Area (BMA2), and the Berland and Upper Smoky Caribou Planning Area Regions.
The development of Mine 14 has been in limbo for almost two decades, Summit’s last self-imposed hiatus in 2012 due to unfavourable market prices for coal. Renewed pursuit to get the project running only began again in 2021 – 2022 when prices began to rise (notably, prices for metallurgical coal have already fallen significantly from their peak in 2022).
Most of Mine 14’s current permits and licenses are well over a decade old, based on an environmental assessment submitted in 2007. Both the environmental protection standards that the government seeks to uphold, and the environmental conditions of the region itself have changed considerably since the original assessment. It should be considered outdated and inappropriate to base the current project and development on.
It is neither environmentally responsible, nor a good economic decision to allow the project to continue. The well-being of the neighbouring communities, surrounding ecosystems, and existing industries like tourism, recreation, and agriculture within the region should not be risked on such a volatile resource and company.
AWA provided a statement of concern to the Alberta Energy Regulator on August 25, 2023, requesting them to deny Summit Coal Inc.’s applications under the Water Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
Read the full statement here.