Benga appeals Grassy Mountain coal project rejection

Proposed site of the Grassy Mountain metallurgical coal mine in Alberta. Credit: Credit: Riversdale Resources.

Benga Mining, proponent of the Grassy Mountain coal project in Alberta, is appealing the denial of permission to develop the mine. The company has filed an application to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

The Grassy Mountain joint review panel rejected the project on June 17, 2021, saying it was not in the public interest because significant environmental degradation would occur.

Benga says its appeal is based on a number of errors made by the panel: failure to consult with Indigenous communities, lack of procedural fairness, ignoring or misconstruing the company’s evidence, relying on non-expert opinions, and inadequate bonds required to address long-term water treatment costs.

Benga believes it is unprecedented for Alberta’s energy regulator to deny a project after a public hearing.

“The JRP could have addressed any valid concerns with the project by making an approval conditional on strict conditions. This well-established and proven approach ensures any development can only proceed with adequate protections in place,” said Benga CEO John Wallington.

The proposed metallurgical coal project is 7 km north of Blairmore, Alta., in the Crowsnest Pass area. About 25% of the proposed site was mined 60 years ago and not rehabilitated. Development of an open pit mine and facilities would cost an estimated $800 million and would produce 93 million tonnes of coal over a 25-year life. Benga says about 500 construction and 385 full-time jobs would be created.

Further information about the Grassy Mountain project can be found on

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