The steelmaking coal play, which straddles the southwest Alberta and southeast British Columbia border, will now go through a five-stage process that incorporates input from a range of government, public and Indigenous groups.
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the call, taking into account a range of environmental factors and public feedback.
Ultimately, the FIA process is likely to delay permitting at the Tent Mountain Mine Project, which was slated to produce its maiden coal in 2023, but Montem welcomes the clarity provided by the ruling.
While the timeframe for the subsequent permit delays remains ambiguous, Montem has vowed to keep the local share market abreast of the situation.
The market responded positively to the news, with MR1 shares up as much as 16.7% intra-day to A$0.035.
Setback leads to regulatory pathway clarity
Montem managing director and CEO Peter Doyle said: “We note Minister Wilkinson’s decision to designate the Tent Mountain Mine Re-start Project to undergo a Federal Impact Assessment.
“This means we now have clarity on the regulatory pathway required to re-start the mine, although this will likely result in a delay to the planned start date of 2023.
“Throughout 2020 and 2021 we have been preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and are on course to lodge the EIA with the provincial regulator later this year.
“We remain confident we are designing and presenting a project at Tent Mountain that minimizes the impact on the local environment.
“By completing our mine plan and implementing our water management plan through the active mine life and the reclamation and closure plan, resulting in a reduction of downstream selenium levels from the current levels.
“The company continues to assess additional mechanisms to monetize our assets and deliver shareholder value. We continue to work on an update of the JORC resource estimate for the Chinook Project, and have also been assessing additional, complementary assets.”
Federal Impact Assessment
The Minister’s decision comes after Environment Canada, through the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, twice previously reviewed the Tent Mountain Re-start Project and confirmed that it did not meet threshold limits that would trigger a Federal Impact Assessment.
Nevertheless, Montem maintains the Federal Impact Assessment is a timely and effective process and will now progress the Tent Mountain Mine through the five-stage process.
The five stages involved in Canada’s Federal Impact Assessment process.