What You Should Know About the Teck Frontier Oilsands Mine Proposal

Updated: May 31

This piece is authored by Rachel Howlett


UPDATE : Teck Resources has pulled their proposal for the Frontier oil sands mine (February 23rd 2020)


Back in 2011, Teck Resources Limited submitted an application to the Alberta Energy Regulator for its Frontier project (1). Teck is a Canadian resource company that focuses on copper, zinc, steelmaking, coal, and energy through mineral development and mining (2). The company has its roots in Teck township, Ontario where their first mine was developed in 1913 following gold discovery in the town (2). The Frontier project would be an estimated $20 billion open pit oil mine in Northern Alberta, between Fort McMurray and Fort Chiwyan (3). The project is forecasted to operate until 2081 and produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen (low-grade crude oil) per day (1). The federal government is to make a decision regarding whether to approve this project at the end of February 2020 (3).


In July 2019, a joint review panel supported by the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Alberta Energy Regulator released their recommendations on the proposal (1). It concluded that the benefits of the proposed mine include the creation of 7,000 jobs for the construction of the mine and 2,500 jobs for the operation of the mine (1). The estimated monetary contribution to all three levels of government is $70 billion dollars over the course of the mine’s projected 41-year life (1). The panel also concluded that there would be significant adverse environmental effects regarding biodiversity, wetlands, the Ronald Lake bison heard and old-growth forests (1). Although all Indigenous groups touched by this project have signed agreements with Teck, it was stated in the review that “ this project is also likely to result in significant adverse effects to the asserted rights, use of lands and resources, and culture of Indigenous groups who use the project area”(1).


On January 13th, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the decision was being carefully considered while taking into account Indigenous consultations and environmental repercussions (4). The Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny, has stated his support for the project and has warned that the government would be implying that the country’s oil and gas sector has no future if Frontier does not get approved (4). The Green Party and many environmental groups, such as Indigenous Climate Action, Greenpeace Canada, and the David Suzuki Foundation, have called for the proposal to be rejected on the basis that Canada will not be able to meet its climate commitments (4).


During the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, Canada recommitted to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (compared to its 2005 emission level) by 2050 (5). The Frontier project will increase national emissions rates by about 5% of the total oil sand emissions in 2016 and it is not in accordance with the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1).


The final decision will be in the hands of the federal cabinet. Check back here by the end of February 2020 for updates.


References:


1. https://ceaaacee.gc.ca/050/documents/p65505/131106E.pdf


2. https://www.teck.com/


3. https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/canada-will-consider-climate-plan-in-teck-oil-project-decision-minister

4. https://globalnews.ca/news/6448602/trudeau-alberta-oil-sands-teck-frontier-project/


5. https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/canada/

About Us

Shake Up The Establishment is a youth-led, registered (#1190975-4) national non-partisan non-profit organization that operates within the geographical confines of what is currently known as "Canada", but what is referred to by its First Peoples, as Turtle Island. Indigenous peoples have inhabited Turtle Island for over 10,000 years, and were the sole inhabitants less than 500 years ago. We acknowledge that our address resides on Treaty 3 land, and is the traditional territory of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas Peoples. Turtle Island is still home to many Indigenous peoples and we at SUTE are thankful to be able to live, learn and work on this territory, whilst continuing to create meaningful change for the climate justice movement. We are aware that our actions as an organization and the work we put out have an impact on our land, and on all that inhabit it. We are humbled to be able to follow the lead of centuries long Indigenous-led efforts towards the protection and stewardship of this land and the people that inhabit it. We are committed to continually evaluating & decolonizing our practices, and we do our best to incorporate the lived experiences of the land defenders and protectors within our work. We also want to honour the voices of Black, and non-Black people of colour within our work, and continually recognize their resiliency in the face of years of systemic oppression as imposed by the Canadian state.

 

Our enterprise is inclusive of all folx who call the geographical confines of what is currently known as Canada, home, and we celebrate the horizontal learning that comes from our diverse identities. As an organization, we will try our utmost best to ensure that only individuals with lived experiences are speaking on behalf of their communities, while still recognizing that Black, Indigenous and communities of colour as well as the LGBTQ2S+ community, are not a monolith. We firmly believe in accountability, and commit to being as transparent as possible in our activism space; to research our topics well, support and centre community care, and minimize any harm, no matter the intent. We have strict policies and procedures to uphold these tenets, and update these on a yearly (or as-needed) basis.

106-325 Winterberry Drive, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8J 0B6

© 2020 Shake Up The Establishment

Stay Caught Up!

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter for major political updates, our latest educational resources, events and more!