A company whose application for a coal mine in Alberta was rejected two years ago is back – with a new name, and an updated request to explore its lease in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Northback Holdings Corp., formerly Benga Mining Ltd., is a subsidiary of Australian mining giant Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd. It is again eyeing a potential mine at Grassy Mountain, submitting applications to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for a 105-day exploratory drilling program and a request for a water diversion.
Northback told The Globe and Mail in an e-mail that those activities would collect technical data and allow it to assess the merits of mining the metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. Grassy Mountain is on the site of an old mine that closed about five decades ago. The new, open-pit mine that Benga proposed for the land forecast production of 93 million tonnes of metallurgical coal over a 23-year life.
A joint federal-provincial regulatory panel rejected Benga’s Grassy Mountain application in 2021, finding that the project would likely result in significant adverse effects on the environment and on some First Nations, which outweighed any economic benefits.
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