Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has reinstated his decision to subject a thermal coal mine expansion in Alberta to a federal review after a court ordered him to rethink it.
“Following the reconsideration process, I have determined that the physical activities warrant [federal] designation,” Wilkinson said in a statement regarding the proposed Vista expansion project.
Coalspur Mines is seeking to expand its existing surface mine near Hinton in north central Alberta. The expansion would make Vista the largest thermal coal mine in North America. The company also plans an underground test mine on the site.
A federal environmental review is required when a mine expands its footprint by 50 per cent or more, or if it plans to produce more than 5,000 tonnes of coal a day. In the early stages of its development, Vista would come in just under those thresholds and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada ruled in 2019 that Ottawa wouldn’t get involved.
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