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AWA’s Statement of Concern regarding Northback Holdings Corporation (formerly Benga Mining Ltd.)’s application to explore Grassy Mountain Coal Deposit

September 21, 2023

Australian company Benga Mining Ltd. of the proposed (and infamous) Grassy Mountain Coal Mine is back, rebranded as the Northback Holdings Corporation. The company has applied to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for a deep drilling permit and temporary water diversion license to explore the Grassy Mountain coal deposit.

The Grassy Mountain Coal Mine had been jointly rejected by the federal and provincial governments because of significant adverse environmental impacts in 2021. AER said the project was “not in the public interest.” Alberta’s top courts dismissed all of Benga’s appeals. Finally, there is a moratorium on all new coal development and exploration in the Eastern Slopes.

Northback shouldn’t be allowed to do any exploratory coal work. Coal mining has been deemed resoundingly inappropriate for the region.

Exploratory work is also not without its own environmental impacts and liabilities;

  • Logging is required to create access roads, fragmenting sensitive habitat.
  • Shallow montane soil becomes exposed, leading to erosion and colonization by invasive species.
  • Sediment washes into rivers and creeks during precipitation events, negatively impacting aquatic habitat and watershed health.
  • Reclamation is costly and poorly enforced.

AWA submitted a statement of concern outlining these concerns and more to the Alberta Energy Regulator on September 21, 2023. The full statement can be read here.

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