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Notice of Hearing
Proceeding ID 408
Coalspur Mines (Operations) Ltd.  
Vista Coal Project

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will hold a public hearing of Coal Conservation Act (CCA) applications 1929395, 1929396, 1929397; Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) application 010-00301345; and Water Act (WA) applications 007-00311969 and 006-00311965. This notice sets out how to request to participate in the hearing. The hearing will be scheduled later or, if there are no participants, the AER may cancel the hearing and decide on the applications without further notice.

Description of the Applications
Coalspur Mines (Operations) Ltd. (Coalspur) applied under the Coal Conservation Act (CCA), Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), and Water Act (WA) for amendments to approvals within the existing MSL boundary for its Vista Coal Project. The Vista mine currently consists of two parallel open pits, a coal processing plant, and various mine infrastructure located east of the town of Hinton, in Townships 50 and 51, Ranges 22–24, West of the 5th Meridian.

Coalspur is requesting amendments to the following approvals:

  • C 2014-5C Mine Pit Licence
  • C2011-5F Coal Mine Permit
  • C2014-6A Subcrop Dump Licence
  • C2014-7D North Dump Licence
  • C 2011-3E Coal Processing Plant Approval
  • Water Act Approval 00311969-00-00 (as amended)
  • Water Act Licence 00311965-00-00 (as amended)
  • EPEA Approval 00301345-00-00 (as amended)

Due to operational issues with Coalspur’s coal processing plant filter press system, Coalspur applied to construct McPherson Tailings Cells 2 to 9 for storage, consolidation, and dewatering of fine plant refuse, which would result in the sterilization of 2 million tonnes of coal which will act as in situ plugs between tailings cells.

Under the CCA approval, Coalspur also applied to modify the Subcrop Dump footprint within the approved dump licence boundary, and modify the mineral composition and overall tonnes being deposited into the North Dump.

Under the EPEA and WA approvals, the amendment applications also include:

  • The construction and operation of the tailings treatment system for fine plant refuse prior to placement in the tailings cells.
  • The construction, operation, maintenance and reclamation of McPherson Tailings Cells 2 through 9 within mined-out pits for the storage, consolidation, and dewatering and reclamation of fine plant refuse.
  • The construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of seven new dams for regulation under the Alberta Dam and Canal Safety Directive, for the purpose of retaining flowable tailings as defined in the Water (Ministerial) Regulation, Part 6.
  • Changes to the source water supply plan and subsequent site water balance.
  • Changes to ensure process water is maintained in a closed-circuit, with the exception of proposed continued releases from North Refuse Dump coarse coal storage.
  • The construction, operation and maintenance of a closed loop pumping system to reclaim tailings cells’ decant water back to dedicated and isolated tanks for re-use in the Coal Processing Plant, no longer using the Fresh Water Pond to store tailings cells’ decant water.
  • The construction and operation of interim surface water management structures to convey surface runoff around the perimeter of the tailings cells during the operational phase of the tailings cells. The structures would convey surface runoff to previously approved sedimentation ponds for treatment prior to release through previously approved release points.
  • The alteration of the flow, direction and level of groundwater due to the operation, closure, and reclamation of the tailings cells.
  • Changes to the construction, operation and reclamation of North Dump.
  • Changes to the configuration within the previously approved disturbance area.
  • Changes to the reclamation plan for the mine, including:
    • A decrease in the rate of progressive reclamation,
    • Capping of the tailings cells,
    • The addition of a large wetland to the reclaimed landscape.

Where can I find information about the application and the hearing?
To receive a copy of the hearing materials, or find out more about AER procedures, contact the hearing coordinator.

Tammy Turner,Hearing Coordinator
Alberta Energy Regulator
Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0R4
Email: @email
Phone: 403-297-3232

Coalspur Mines (Operations) Ltd.
PO Box 6146
Hinton, Alberta T7V 1X5
Attention: Simon Stepp
Email: @email
Phone: 780-740-2470

How can I apply to participate in the hearing?
You must file a written request to participate, even if you have already filed a statement of concern with the AER. Requests to participate are placed on the public record of this proceeding.

Your request to participate must contain

a) a copy of your statement of concern or an explanation why you did not file one;

b) a concise statement indicating

  • why and how you may be directly and adversely affected by the AER’s decision on the applications, or
  • if you will not be directly and adversely affected by a decision on the applications, explain
    • what the nature of your interest in the matter is and why you should be permitted to participate,
    • how your participation will materially assist the AER in deciding the matter that is the subject of the hearing,
    • how you have a tangible interest in the subject matter of the hearing,
    • how your participation will not unnecessarily delay the hearing, and
    • how you will not repeat or duplicate evidence presented by other parties;

c) the outcome of the applications that you advocate;

d) the nature and scope of your intended participation;

e) your contact information;

f) if you are acting on behalf of a group or association of people, the nature of your membership in the group or association; and

g) your efforts, if any, to resolve issues associated with the proceeding directly with the applicant.

Send one copy of the request to Coalspur and one copy to the hearing coordinator. Submissions should be PDF documents with bookmarks, page numbers (with the first page in the document being numbered page one), and optical character recognition.

Filing deadlines

March 1, 2021 - Final date to file a request to participate.
March 8, 2021 - Final date for response from the applicant on any requests to participate.

Is this a public process?
Yes. Section 49 of the Rules of Practice requires that all documents and information filed for a proceeding be placed on the public record. You must not include any personal information that you do not want to appear on or are not authorized to put on the public record. You should assume that anything you submit will be available online to the public. Section 49(2) of the Rules of Practice states how to apply to the AER for an order to keep information confidential.

If my request to participate is approved, can I apply to get reimbursed for hearing-related costs?
If you are participating in a hearing, you may be eligible to have some of your costs paid. Directive 031: REDA Energy Cost Claims explains how and when to apply.

What is outside of the AER’s jurisdiction?
Compensation for land use is not dealt with by the AER and should be referred to the Alberta Surface Rights Board.

Crown consultation with Alberta’s First Nations and Métis settlements and assessment of its adequacy are managed by the Aboriginal Consultation Office.

Issued at Calgary, Alberta, on February 11, 2021.