Teck Resources, which proposed the Frontier mine project, announced they withdrew its application.
Don Lindsay, President and CEO of the Vancouver-based company issued a statement explaining the decision.
He said Frontier surfaced a broader debate on resource development, Indigenous rights, and Canada’s role in addressing climate change.
“It is our hope that withdrawing from the process will allow Canadians to shift to a larger and more positive discussion about the path forward. Ultimately, that should take place without a looming regulatory deadline.”
Lindsay added he hopes the withdrawal will lead to a critical discussion on those issues.
Reaction to the withdrawal
Mayor Don Scott, who joined a local delegation to Ottawa to speak about the project, said he is tremendously disappointed.
He added if Frontier received final approval, residents would benefit from its social and economic opportunities.
“Our region is strong and resilient, and we continue to be open for investment and in building opportunity in a sustainable way that respects reconciliation with Indigenous communities.”
Mayor Scott said Canadians must reflect on how they can address issues together to build economic confidence in Wood Buffalo.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also called the decision disappointing, but not surprising.
“It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority. The timing of the decision is not a coincidence.”
Kenney added he suspects something changed at Teck recently to force their withdrawal.
The province just signed an agreement with Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations over environmental and cultural concerns.
He hoped the deal would lead to the approval of Teck’s proposal from the federal government.
McMurray Métis CEO Bill Loutitt, who supported the project, said the decision to withdraw was the right one.
“We know Teck as a progressive company and supporter of the Indigenous communities in Wood Buffalo, but tonight’s statement clearly shows that Teck acted in the best interests of Canadians, as they always have.”
McMurray Métis was one of 14 Indigenous communities that supported Teck Resources’ proposal.
Teck originally expected a decision from the federal cabinet by the end of the month.
Summarily, in a joint statement, the cabinet said they would not rule