Teck to pull proposal for Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta

OTTAWA—Teck Resources is pulling its application for a major oilsands mine in northern Alberta that had been awaiting federal approval.

The company told the federal and provincial governments of its decision Saturday night.

A source close to the process told the Star the company explained it wanted to steer clear of the environmental opposition brewing around the project, and did not want to be in the crosshairs of anti-oilsands sentiment.

“We are disappointed to have arrived at this point,” Don Lindsay, Teck president and CEO, wrote in a letter to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson outlining their decision.

“Teck put forward a socially and environmentally responsible project that was industry leading and had the potential to create significant economic benefits for Canadians.”

“I want to make clear that we are not merely shying away from controversy,” Lindsay continued. “The nature of our businessdicta tes that a vocal minority will almost inevitably oppose specific developments. We are prepared to face that sort of opposition. Frontier, however, has surfaced a broader debate over climate change and Canada’s role in addressing it. It is our hope that withdrawing from the process will allow Canadians to shift to a larger and more positive discussion about the path forward.”

The $20.6-billion Teck Frontier mine had been expected to create an estimated 7,000 jobs during construction, and 2,500 over its 41-year lifespan.

It was seen as a potential boost to Alberta’s beleaguered economy, which has faced low oil prices and job losses over the past several years. But the federal cabinet has been deadlocked over whether to approve the project because it would drive up greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the federal Liberals have committed to reducing them.

More to come

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