Teck’s $20.6-billion Frontier oil sands project is under review. (Image: Teck Resources)
ALBERTA – Late last week the joint federal-provincial panel reviewing Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands project sent its report to Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna. The report urges regulators to approve the $20.6-billion project 110 km north of Fort McMurray because it is in the public interest.
But it also determined there will be negative impacts on the environment and Indigenous communities. To mitigate some of the effects, the panel added dozens of conditions and follow-up measures that must be addressed before the project can go ahead.
The joint panel pointed to Frontier’s effects on wetlands, old growth forests, and the plants and animals native to the region. Effects on the rights and culture of Indigenous people in the area will also be impacted.
First production could come as early as 2026, and with the completion of a second phase, output would be 260,000 bbl/day of bitumen. The project has an expected life of 41 years. Frontier would create 7,000 direct construction jobs and about 2,500 operational jobs.
Teck is awaiting the public review panel report in 2020 and must consider anticipated market conditions before green-lighting development.
Given the vast contribution – $70 billion – that Frontier would put into federal, provincial and municipal treasuries, there may be reasons to move forward eventually.
Teck has a reputation for maintaining high environmental standards, and watching the arguments for and against Frontier should be interesting.
The entire report of the joint panel can be downloaded from the CEAA website, https://ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p65505/131106E.pdf.
Teck has posted more information about the Frontier project at www.FrontierOilsands.com.