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Grassy Mountain Blog

The Grassy Mountain Joint Review Panel hearing into Benga Mining Ltd.’s proposal to bring metallurgical coal mining back to the Crowsnest Pass is an environmental issue that warrants more sustained media coverage than the editors of mainstream media outlets have delivered. While the beginning of this hearing attracted considerable media attention, coverage essentially has vanished as the substantive arguments – pro and con – have commenced.

I hope that the following accounts will serve as a permanent record of the hearing and of the issues surrounding the associated proposal to re-introduce metallurgical coal mining to the Crowsnest Pass. In this blog I’ll offer you information and, hopefully, insight into this very consequential public hearing.

– Dr. Ian Urquhart
AWA Conservation Director and Editor, Wild Lands Advocate

November 30, 2020

Meet the Australian Companies Behind the Grassy Mountain Project

Who are Benga Mining, Riversdale Resources, and Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd? These are the three Australian companies aspiring to exploit the coal of Grassy Mountain. Read more »

November 23, 2020

Adequacy?: Whitebark Pine in Benga’s Environmental Impact Assessment

“Adequacy” is a recurring theme in the Grassy Mountain Coal Project Joint Review Panel hearing. Adequacy refers to the substance of Benga Mining Ltd.’s impact assessment. It refers to whether the company has done a good job in detailing the wide range of impacts its project will have; it refers to the company’s details about how it will address those impacts. Read more »

November 15, 2020

Can Benga Deliver On Its Coal Royalties Promises?

             My second post to this blog noted that Benga promises to deliver $1.7 billion in royalties and taxes to the provincial and federal governments. Here I analyze the royalties component. The analysis leaves me puzzled and unconvinced. I simply cannot see how Benga arrives at its conclusion that, on average, Alberta will collect $30 million in royalties from this mining venture Read more »

November 13, 2020

Coal Markets and Grassy Mountain: “If You Build It, Will They Buy?”

            Socio-economics. Before the Joint Review Panel began its Grassy Mountain hearing, I speculated that the socio-economic effects of Benga Mining’s proposal to exploit metallurgical coal would be the company’s strongest suit. Given the range of serious environmental questions that will be raised in the hearing, I thought Benga had to make a strong case for the positive socio-economic effects its ambitions would have for the people in the Crowsnest, for Albertans, and for Canadians. But a strong case only can be built on a foundation of favourable markets for coking coal. If Benga builds its Field of Dreams, will the global coking coal market be strong enough to realize the company’s financial promises?

Read more »

November 8, 2020

Opening Statements at the Grassy Mountain Hearing

The transcripts for the first four days of the JRP hearing totaled more than 900 pages, the product of approximately seven hours a day of presentations and questioning. Here, I’ll identify several noteworthy themes animating the opening remarks of Benga Mining, federal government departments, and intervening organizations and individuals (it’s noteworthy that no provincial department offered such remarks). Read more »

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