CANADIAN PRESS: CALGARY — Alberta power producer TransAlta Corp. says it will end operations at its Highvale thermal coal mine west of Edmonton by the end of 2021 as it switches to natural gas at all of its operated coal-fired plants in Canada four years earlier than previously planned.
The announcement will result in hundreds of mine job losses as employment drops to 40 to 50 people involved in reclamation work, expected to take about 20 years, from a peak workforce of around 1,500, said CEO Dawn Farrell on a conference call on Wednesday.
ransAlta confirmed last week it had closed a $400-million second tranche of a $750-million investment by an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management, with the proceeds to be used to advance its coal-to-gas conversion program and other corporate purposes.
But on the call, Farrell said Brookfield’s purchase of convertible securities wasn’t responsible for the board’s decision to accelerate its coal-to-gas conversions.
“It’s really related to, overall, the economics of producing power in Alberta on coal with the carbon tax,” she said on the call.
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