Ms Gina Rinehart Takes Canada to Court over Grassy Coal Mine
Australian billionaire Ms Gina Rinehart versus the Canadian government as the miner seeks to challenge a decision by the federal environment minister to reject her metallurgical coal mine project in the Rocky Mountains in Canada. Benga Mining, a subsidiary of Riversdale Resources which was taken over by Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting two years ago, launched an appeal last month in Alberta to reverse a decision by the province’s energy regulator that the Grassy Mountain coal project should not go ahead. Benga launched legal action in Alberta’s court of appeal in July disputing assertions by the regulator it had not provided enough information and saying it had misconstrued environmental evidence and asked the minister in a letter to hold off on any decision until after the challenge. The miner also contended the regulator had ignored support by First Nations representative groups for Grassy Mountain. The Piikani Nation and the Stoney Nakoda Nations also launched provincial appeals.
The project, which would have a mine life of 23 years and extract 4.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year for use in the steel-making industry, needed both provincial and federal approval. The Alberta Energy Regulator refused to grant provincial permits in June because of adverse impacts on water quality in the mountains and a species of trout, effectively sinking the project before federal consideration even took place. But Canada’s Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson was still required to take on the regulator’s report and make his own decision about whether the project was likely to cause significant environmental damage.