The Canadian Government has decided not to approve new thermal coal mining projects or existing mine project expansions citing their adverse impact on the environment.

The decision has been announced by the Canada Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson as G7 leaders gather in the UK for their summit to combat global challenges.

Wilkinson said that the thermal coal mining projects could cause ‘unacceptable environmental effects’ within federal jurisdiction.

Additionally, these projects do not comply with Canada’s domestic and international climate change commitments.

The new policy marks another critical step in the country’s shared path to a cleaner and more prosperous future. It also makes Canada among the first to adopt such a policy among the G7 countries.

The new policy affects several planned projects including the Coalspur Mines’ proposed coal mine expansion in Alberta to extract and export thermal coal to international markets.

Coalspur Mines intends to expand the existing Vista Coal Mine Phase I, a surface coal mine located approximately 10km east of Hinton, Alberta.

The proposed plan includes two expansions, comprising an underground coal mine (Vista Test Underground Mine) and a westward expansion of the Phase I mine pits (Vista Mine Phase II Expansion).

Wilkinson said: “New thermal coal mining projects or expansions are not in line with the ambition Canadians want to see on climate, or with Canada’s domestic and international climate commitments.

“Eliminating coal-fired power and replacing it with cleaner sources is an essential part of the transition to a low carbon economy, and as a result, building new thermal coal mines for energy production is not sustainable.”

In 2018 the federal government unveiled regulations to eliminate conventional coal-fired electricity across Canada by 2030.

In 2019, Canada produced 57 metric tonnes of coal, 47% of which constitutes thermal coal utilised for generating electricity and the rest is metallurgical coal used for steel-making.