Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. is facing opposition to its proposed Frontier oil sands mining operation owing to the project’s potential impacts on a UNESCO world-heritage park where wildlife habitat is deteriorating because of development.
Teck is seeking an environmental permit for a 260,000-barrels-a-day operation along with tailings ponds and water withdrawals in a project that would be the most northerly oil sands mine, just 30 kilometres from the southern border of the sprawling Wood Buffalo National Park.
A joint federal-provincial review panel has scheduled hearings for September, but First Nations and environmental groups are urging it to delay the review until Ottawa can produce a reclamation plan for the park.
The plan was demanded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO), which has threatened to withdraw the park’s world heritage status unless action is taken.
Teck conducted its own environmental assessment and concluded “there will be no adverse environmental impact on Wood Buffalo National Park and the Peace-Athabasca Delta resulting from the proposed Frontier project,” Teck spokesman Chris Stannell said in an e-mail.