Peter Kent, Canada's environment minister on Friday referred Teck Resources's Frontier Oil Sands project in northern Alberta to an environmental assessment by an independent review panel because of the propose mine's "potential for significant adverse effects on the environment. "
Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.A) earlier this month became the owner of the Frontier project through its acquisition of SilverBirch Energy Corp. (TSXV:SBE) for over C$435 million.
Canada’s largest publicly traded mining company paid $8.50 cash for each of Calgary-based SilverBirch’s shares plus one share of a new company in a friendly deal. The new concern is to be called SilverWillow Energy Corp.
Frontier will be a truck-and-shovel operation with production of more than 277,000 barrels of partially deasphalted bitumen per day. A total of 2.8 billion barrels are expected to be produced over the anticipated 30 year life of the project.
Teck Chief Executive Officer Don Lindsay said at the time “the Frontier ownership structure is simplified, our exposure to oil sands leases not amenable to mining is reduced, and Teck now has the opportunity to explore new potential partnerships and other alternatives to move Frontier towards development.”
The Winnipeg Free Press reports:
Kent's announcement comes as industry and the Conservative government push for a more streamlined process to review major energy projects like Frontier.
It took six years for the Joslyn mine, being built by Total E&P Canada and Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU), to be approved.
In announcing Joslyn's approval in December, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said that's much too long.