Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – February 23, 2020) Tonight, Teck Resources Ltd. made the stunning announcement that it has withdrawn its proposal for the Frontier Oilsands Mine, which would have been the largest open pit oilsands mine in Canada. The announcement came days before Canada was set to make a decision on the project, and in the middle of a protracted and tense national crisis over the proposed Coastal Gaslink pipeline in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.
Frontier would have produced up to 260,000 barrels of bitumen per day and 4 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year over 40 years. The proposal stood to affect Indigenous peoples’ territories, resources, and rights, and have irreversible, adverse global climate consequences.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated,
“We are absolutely relieved and overjoyed with Teck’s self-rejection of the monstrous Frontier Mine proposal. The fossil fuel industry is clearly facing extinction, and the market is no longer profitable enough for these major companies to proceed.
“The pressure being exerted by Indigenous peoples and allies around the world to address the climate emergency is working, and the markets are being forced to accommodate the growing necessity of renewable energy. Canada must immediately dedicate the resources needed for a just transition and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples impacted. The promises of jobs and money that the company sold its partners for the past decade are now meaningless.”
In a letter to Minister of Environment Jonathan Wilkinson, Teck CEO and President Don Lindsay wrote, “Global capital markets are changing rapidly, and investors and customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change, in order to produce the cleanest possible products. This does not yet exist here today and, unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project. Questions about the societal implications of energy development, climate change and Indigenous rights are critically important ones for Canada, its provinces and Indigenous governments to work through.”
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated,
“The world is on fire, the glaciers are melting, the oceans are rising and we are all facing drastic changes to our lands and waters, and our ways of living. We welcome Teck’s withdrawal of the ill-fated, severely dangerous Frontier Oilsands Mine.
“The project did not have support of all the Indigenous peoples who would have been impacted. Importantly, as we are seeing with Coastal Gaslink, even when a project has the stubbornly unwavering support of the Crown, if there is not free, prior and informed consent from the Indigenous peoples impacted, then there is no certainty.”
“Tonight’s announcement from Teck is an incredibly significant milestone in our fight against the dirty fossil fuel industry,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Teck would have made use of Canada’s proposed $12.6B Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline that is planned to go through Secwépemc territory and does not have the consent of the proper Title and Rights Holders. The landscape is shifting incredibly quickly, and Teck’s withdrawal of Frontier is going to create even more uncertainty for TMX and any other fossil fuel projects. As Mr. Lindsay has noted, societal questions about climate change are beginning to truly impact the bottom line of natural resource extraction projects. Coastal Gaslink should seriously be asking, at point will investors walk away from LNG Canada?”