Teck to consider Frontier's encroachment on Wood Buffalo National Park
The federal government has instructed Teck Resources to consider any potential impacts its Frontier Oil Sands Mine would have on the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site, including environmental and social ramifications.
The update stems from a report filed by the UN's World Heritage Committee that warned the park could be "downgraded" due to encroaching industrial development.
UNESCO began monitoring the park after receiving complaints from members of the Mikisew Cree First Nation about encroaching development, particularly hydro-electric dams and oil sands mines, which the group claims have resulted in lower water levels, less wildlife and contamination. The UN submitted a list of 17 recommendations to the federal government and has threatened to add the park to its list of "in danger" heritage sites. The group would like to see a buffer zone around the entire park.
The 4.5 million hectare Wood Buffalo National Park is the second largest national park in the world, straddling the Northwest Territories border and is home to North America's largest population of wild bison and the world's largest inland delta.
Frontier is located 30 km south of the park's southern border, 110 km north of the city of Fort McMurray. If constructed, it would be the most northern oil sands mine in the Athabasca region.
UN inspectors say the massive park is in good condition, but governments need to take action to keep it that way. Frontier is currently in the regulatory review process. Teck has not made a final investment decision nor released a concrete timeline for the project.