The movement against Big Coal has won a major victory. The Grassy Mountain project, a massive steel-making coal mine in the heart of the Rockies, has just been defeated.
On June 17, 2021, a joint federal-provincial review panel denied the operating company’s application, saying its impacts on water, the environment, and Indigenous rights far outweigh any potential economic benefits. The panel denied the project’s permit applications under provincial laws. Without that approval, the project cannot proceed.
The Grassy Mountain project is operated by Benga Mining Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Riversdale Resources Limited, which is in turn owned by Hancock Prospecting. Hancock’s chairperson is the billionaire Gina Rinehart – who has persistently ranked as the richest person in Australia, currently valued at more than $30 billion AUD. She is also Australia’s biggest landholder, controlling 9.2 million hectares. Rinehart has also donated millions of dollars to promote climate change doubt and disinformation.
The defeat of Grassy Mountain is a huge win for the movement to protect the Rockies, rivers, and all the peoples who depend on them.
And it’s just the latest in a series of setbacks for the coal industry – and their proponents within the Alberta government.
After the United Conservative government revoked a decades-old policy last year that protected the Rockies from open-pit coal mines, there has been an unprecedented backlash from tens of thousands of Albertans, from all walks of life and political stripes. That public mobilization forced the province to restore the policy and later to pause all coal exploration in ecologically sensitive areas. Earlier this week, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson also announced that all coal projects will be subject to a more stringent federal review.
The grassroots opposition to this new coal rush in Alberta is working – but our work is far from done.
There are currently at least seven other coal mining projects proposed in the Rockies. And we can’t stop until we defeat every single one of them.
Other coal companies have been nervously watching this decision as a signal for what may come down the line for their own exploration and mining plans. They had been banking on Grassy’s success with the regulatory process to reassure their investors of the strength of their own case.
We need must do everything we can to make the Rockies inhospitable to corporate interests – and ensure that we reverse the course of coal development in all of Canada for good.
Join us for a digital rally on June 25th as we celebrate the end of the Grassy Mountain project, hear from those on the ground about why we must continue the fight against coal, and come together to take action to protect the Rockies and rivers.