Coalspur making progress, seals deal with tribe

CANADIAN miner Coalspur has taken a step ahead with the development of its Vista coal project, coming to an agreement with the last remaining tribal group that had filed opposition to the mine’s presence.

Donna Schmidt

The company said that Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, the sole remaining First Nation party that had been granted intervener status by the Alberta Energy Regulator, has withdrawn its status as it related to the company’s Vista project.

The agreement, the producer said, formalises a relationship between the two parties that in turn establishes “mutually beneficial opportunities” for business, as well as community infrastructure and programs for the tribal group.

Also under the terms of the deal, Alexis will have a hand in reclamation as well as ongoing environmental monitoring of Vista.

“We have been engaged in discussions with Alexis for over two years and now have a way forward that not only advances Vista, but allows Alexis to participate in, and benefit from, its success,” president and chief executive officer Gill Winckler said.

“Coalspur has engaged with numerous aboriginal communities for over two years and agreements have been reached with five other communities through this consultation process.”

Chief Tony Alexis added that it was mindful to its responsibility to past, present and future generations as it built its relationship with Coalspur.

“I believe we have honoured these commitments and moved forward with Coalspur in a way that will provide Alexis with the tools and resources to prosper as a sustainable community while maintaining our values and principles as passed down from the teachings of our past and present Elders as stewards of our traditional territory,” he said.

The producer said it has now addressed all concerns from all the intervener parties, and is now looking ahead to securing regulatory approval and finalizing funding arrangements for Vista’s construction.

The flagship Vista project covers approximately 10,000 hectares and provides a large scale, surface mineable, thermal coal development.

Vista is located adjacent to CN Rail's main line, where it will be taken to west coast deepwater ports.

Coalspur has secured a port allocation agreement with Ridley Terminals for the export of coal from Vista, which will send tonnage to Asia Pacific countries for use.