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Murray River mining project approved by Canadian government

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Global Mining Review,

The government of Canada is working to protect the environment for future generations while growing our economy. Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, announced the federal Cabinet's decision to approve the Murray River mining project, located in central British Columbia, following a federal environmental assessment. The Project, by HD Mining International Ltd, will mine metallurgical coal to be used for the production of steel.

In the Environmental Assessment Decision Statement, the Minister established 104 legally-binding conditions to protect the environment, including mitigation measures and follow-up programme requirements that must be fulfilled by the proponent throughout the life of the project.

The proponent will be required to consult with directly affected First Nations on the implementation of the conditions. The First Nations will be provided with the support necessary to enable meaningful input. The conditions include measures to address effects of the project on human health, fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, Southern Mountain Caribou and other wildlife, and use of lands and resources by Indigenous peoples. As well, the conditions require the proponent to avoid, mitigate or offset impacts on caribou habitat.

The conditions also include, for the first time, a cap on greenhouse gas emissions associated with a coal mine. The proponent is responsible for limiting methane emissions to 500 000 tpy of equivalent carbon dioxide.

The project will be located within the range of the threatened Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, stated: “The environmental assessment of this project benefited from thorough scientific and technical expertise, and took into account input provided by the public and Indigenous groups. Our government intends to renew and strengthen its commitment to collaboration and partnerships with affected First Nations communities on all aspects of caribou recovery. Long-term investment, habitat protection and restoration, and coordinated federal, provincial and First Nation actions, including the conditions set out in my decision statement, are necessary to strengthen environmental protection and promote caribou recovery in British Columbia."

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