December 12th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 51
Riversdale update
Regulatory, Current Activities, Golf Course, Future Exporation, EDC Officer
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
By Keith McClary (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Grassy Mountain Coal Mine near Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada
Pass Herald Reporter
Alisdair Gibbons, general manager of the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, provided a progress update on the status in the approval process of the proposed mine at a Special Council Meeting on Dec. 5.


There is just over one month remaining for the public to provide comment on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Grassy Mountain. The public comment period, announced on November 5, 2018, closes on January 21, 2019, at which time the three-member Joint Review Panel, which was established on August 16, 2018, will evaluate the completeness of the EIA and, if necessary, will request further information from Riversdale Resources.

This exchange can occur several times until the joint panel deems the EIA sufficient. Once deemed sufficient, a public hearing will be held, which Gibbons anticipates to be held in summer 2019. This is the final opportunity for public input before the panel prepares a report for the federal and provincial governments, which could take several more months, likely at the end of 2019.

On the provincial side, the panelists will be submitting a decision whether to grant a permit to the Grassy Mountain Coal Project. On the federal side, the panelist will submit a recommendation and the final decision will be made by the Federal Minister for Environment.

Once a permit is issued and construction begins, Riversdale anticipates approximately 22 months of construction and operations would really ramp up in 2024 or 2025.

A resource document to assist participants in the preparation of their submissions is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website.
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Current Activities

Since October, Riversdale has been responding to Supplemental Information Requests (SIRs) from the federal and provincial environmental agencies. This was the third round of SIRs from CEAA (federal) and the second from the Alberta Energy Regulator (provincial).
Riversdale is in the process of conducting a quality drilling program to extract 8 tonnes of coal from boreholes and ship them overseas to prospective clients to test. The program, running for six to seven weeks, is expected to be complete before Christmas.

On the infrastructure side, design and engineering work is being done for road and rail crossings, access roads, water management and the design and configuration of the coal handling processing plant.

Golf course

All work has been completed on the field of play of the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club. With this year’s late spring, sodding did not get underway as early as expected and still requires several months of growing time over the 2019 spring and summer. For this reason, while most of the course will be ready for teeing this coming golf season, the final configuration won’t be playable in 2019.

Construction of the club house and maintenance facilities are underway and should be complete in mid- to end-2019, as should the access road leading up to the golf course.

The entire course and all facilities are projected to open in 2020.
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Future exploration

A member of the gallery questioned what plans Riversdale has for future coal mine exploration. According to Gibbons, there are parcels in the Bellevue and Adanac areas that may warrant future exploration, but Riversdale has no plans to pursue them at this time. Should Riversdale decide to mine those areas, they would be subject to a complete Environmental Impact Assessment and regulatory review from start to finish, the same requirements that have been ongoing over the past several years for Grassy Mountain.

Economic Development Officer

A member of the gallery questioned Council on whether they see a conflict of interest of Riversdale funding a municipal Economic Development Officer (EDO) position. Mayor Blair Painter said that he feels there is no conflict of interest and is representative of Riversdale being a good corporate citizen. He also noted that it is normal practice for companies to support municipalities, pointing to funding that Pincher Creek receives from Shell or that the Elk Valley receives from Teck.

According to Councillor Lisa Sygutek, the EDO would be employed by the municipality and report to municipal Administration; Riversdale would have no influence in their professional activities.
For more information on the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, please visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 80101.
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December 12th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 51
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