Head of Alberta commission on Rocky Mountain coal mining concerned over new applications |

At least two members of the group that recommended a pause on coal mining in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains are concerned the province’s regulator appears to have accepted applications to renew a project that has already been denied.

Last week, the Australia-based company Northback Holdings — formerly known as Benga Mining Limited and part of Australian parent company Hancock Prospecting — resurrected a proposal for the Grassy Mountain steelmaking coal mine in southern Alberta, applying for three licences from the Alberta Energy Regulator.

That’s despite the project being denied by both Alberta and Ottawa, as well as a provincial order that forbids any coal activity on those lands.

For years, the company has been trying to construct and operate an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the Crowsnest Pass, approximately seven kilometres north of the community of Blairmore in southwest Alberta.

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Alberta organizations draft their own coal policy

Ron Wallace and Bill Trafford, both members of the committee that recommended the pause to the government, are concerned the recent applications violate both the spirit and letter of the order that enacted that moratorium.

Trafford says he can’t see how the regulator can accept the applications and move forward on them without violating government policy.

Wallace, who headed the commission in to coal mining, calls the applications very concerning.

Spokespeople from Northback, the regulator or the provincial government weren’t immediately available.

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