With the federal government’s decision on the Teck Frontier Mine coming soon (in February), there’s some important details about this new oil sands project that need to be brought into the limelight.
Teck’s new oil sands mine in northern Alberta will be one of the most innovative projects of its kind to-date, making use of industry-leading technologies to:
> Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity
> Minimize water use and protect water quality
> Reclaim land as soon as mining begins
> Ensure safe, secure tailings storage with leading-edge technology
> Prevent or mitigate possible impacts to wildlife
Fact #1: Global Oil Demand is Growing
But before we discuss these further, it’s essential we are all reminded of the paramount fact that global oil demand is projected to grow by nearly 10 million barrels per day between now and 2040, as outlined in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) most recent World Energy Outlook 2019.
Canada should be a global energy supplier of choice because we have the highest standards for protecting people and the planet.— Oil Sands Action (@OilsandsAction) December 29, 2019
We are 4th in the world on the clean technology index and we should be proud. #MoreCanada 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/cLBnnBcbH6
Heck, that’s the whole reason why Teck has proposed this massive new oil sands mine in the first place. If oil sands growth forecasts by the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) and U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) come even close to being true, with production increasing 50% by 2040 and even more so by 2050, the new Teck Frontier Mine is just a small part of the puzzle for Canada’s energy industry going forward.
We know about projected growth for oil and natural gas demand in the foreseeable future, so why would anyone not want Canada to have as much market share as possible? As one of the most transparent, regulated and environmentally responsible petroleum producers on the planet, it only makes sense that Canada should be one of the last producers “out of the pool.”
Canada’s record of oil and gas production is exemplified by Teck’s initiatives to make Frontier one of the best-in-class oil sands mines ever built in regards to both the environment and Indigenous support.
Fact #2: Land Reclamation Will Begin as Soon as Mining Starts
> Land reclamation will begin as mining progresses, adhering to strict regulations set forth by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)
> The actual footprint of active mining will be smaller than the total project area due to on-going reclamation efforts
> With a size of about 292 square kilometres, the mine’s total surface area is about half the size of Edmonton but this land will not be all disturbed at once
Fact #3: Frontier Will Have a Carbon Intensity Less than 50% of USA Refineries
> GHG emissions intensity of the Frontier project will be about 50% less than the oil sands industry average
> Carbon intensity of the Frontier project will be less than half of the oil currently refined in the United States
> Energy efficient mining processes and cogeneration are among the industry-leading technologies that will help reduce GHG emissions
Fact #4: Extensive Work on Prevention & Mitigation for Wildlife
> Extensive assessments of potential effects on fish, wildlife and their habitat have been conducted to ensure the right steps are taken to prevent and mitigate effects during operations and after the mine is closed
> Any affected wildlife habitat will be fully reclaimed to a “…self-sustaining ecosystem with local vegetation and wildlife.” - AER
Fact #5: Frontier Will Have the Lowest Water Use Intensity
> Teck’s Frontier Mine will have one of the lowest water use intensities in the oil sands
> About 90% of water used to process the bitumen will be recycled, minimizing fresh water withdrawals from the Athabasca river
> Off-stream water storage will help to reduce water withdrawals from the river during low flow periods
> Safeguards will ensure water quality is protected and there are no leaks into the water table
Fact #6: Leading-Edge Tailings Management & Technology
> Teck’s Frontier Mine project will use state-of-the-art practices to create a safe and secure placement for tailings
> Centrifuges will de-water tailings fluid before placement mined-out pits, eliminating the need for dams after operations cease and providing increased levels of security for tailings containment in the process
Fact #7: All 14 Indigenous Communities Support the Project
> All 14 Indigenous groups in the region where the Teck Frontier Mine is proposed support the project. They include:
- Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
- MikisewCree First Nation
- Fort McKayFirst Nation
- Fort Chipewyan Métis
- Fort McKayMétis
- Fort Mc Murray Métis1935
- Fort McMurrayFirst Nation #468
- MétisNation of Alberta- Region One and it's member locals
- Athabasca Landing Local # 2010
- Buffalo Lake Local # 2002
- ConklinLocal # 193
- Lac La BicheLocal # 1909
- Owl River Local # 1949
- Willow Lake Local # 780
Fact #8: Teck Frontier Mine a Much-Needed Boon for the Energy Sector
> Frontier will employ up to 7,000 people during peak construction
> An additional 2,500 people will be employed throughout operations over a project life of 41 years
> 75,000 person-years of employment generated by the construction of Frontier
> $55 billion generated in provincial taxes and royalties
> $12 billion generated in federate corporate income and capital taxes
> $3.6 billion generated in municipal property taxes
Teck’s investment of $20.6 billion in northern Alberta comes at a time where a lack of new pipeline capacity and strangulating regulations have been choking the life out of one of Canada’s most valuable industries.
Frontier will create thousands of new employment opportunities, tens of billions in government revenues and provide a much-needed boost to an industry that has seen countless jobs and investor cash flee in droves to more competitive oil and gas producing jurisdictions over the past five years.
Much like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, an approval of Teck’s Frontier Mine would help to restore investor confidence in Canada’s energy sector.
With the Trans Mountain Expansion, Keystone XL and Line 3 Replacement set to add more than a million barrels of additional pipeline capacity for Canada in the near future, it only makes sense that this project – with its low carbon intensity and leading-edge environmental initiatives – should provide some of the oil necessary to fill those pipes.
Learn more - Pipelines in Canada: What You Should Know