Overview

We gathered feedback to help us develop a modern coal policy that will protect the areas Albertans cherish, while allowing responsible resource development in appropriate places.

The Coal Policy Committee was formed to lead a comprehensive engagement and to ensure the views of all Albertans were represented.

The committee considered feedback from Albertans, Indigenous people, communities and organizations to inform their final report and recommendations.

Timeline

  • Open

  • Results under review

  • Completed

Who is listening

Ministry of Energy

Get informed

  • Coal in Alberta

    Coal formations can be found underneath almost half of Alberta. Alberta averages 25 to 30 million tonnes of coal production each year.

    Coal mining has existed in Alberta since the late 1800s as a result of the expansion of railroads to Western Canada. Later, coal would become the primary source of electricity in Alberta. Today, the main interest in Alberta’s coal is for export markets, including metallurgical coal.

    The development of coal resources in Alberta follows a regulatory process that begins before a mine is built and continues after mining is complete. Leases are obtained through Alberta Energy and coal exploration, mining, and reclamation activities are regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

    Read the Coal in Alberta fact sheet (PDF, 699 KB)

  • Reinstatement of 1976 Coal Policy

    As a result of concerns raised about potential coal development on sensitive lands, we reinstated the 1976 Coal Policy, including the 4 coal categories, as of February 8, 2021. Coal categories set where and how coal leasing, exploration and development can occur.

    We are also reinforcing restrictions by providing specific direction to the Alberta Energy Regulator:

    • All restrictions under the 1976 coal categories are to apply, including all restrictions on surface mining in Category 2 lands. In addition, no mountain top removal will be permitted.
    • All future coal exploration approvals on Category 2 lands will be prohibited pending widespread consultations on a new coal policy.

    Coal lease sales in Category 2 lands also remain paused while we examine Alberta’s long-term approach to coal development.

    Learn more about the Coal Policy.

  • Coal exploration halted on Category 2 lands

    Based on input from Albertans, the initial survey results and a recommendation from the Coal Policy Committee, the Minister of Energy directed coal companies to halt exploration on Category 2 lands, effective April 23. On November 10, the order was extended until further notice.

    • Ministerial Order 093/2021 - direction to halt coal exploration activities on Category 2 lands under the Responsible Energy Development Act.

Input received

Thank you to those who participated. We are currently reviewing feedback.

Online submissions

Technical submissions were sent to the committee between May 17 and September 19, 2021.

Email submissions

Albertans also emailed the committee with suggestions and questions.

Indigenous engagement

From June to October 2021, with the Minister of Energy and Alberta Energy carried out Indigenous engagement. The committee also engaged with First Nations leaders, Métis communities, Indigenous NGOs and others to ensure their perspectives on coal development were heard and considered.

Progress updates

Outcomes

Alberta is developing a modern coal policy. Your feedback will help ensure coal development reflects the best interests of Albertans and continues to balance stringent environmental protections with responsible resource development.

The committee provided advice and recommendations to the Minister of Energy in their final reports. The Alberta government is reviewing the reports.

Coal Policy Committee

The committee led a widespread engagement process that captured the views of Albertans and Indigenous people. The members represent a wide-range of perspectives on coal development.

Read the committee's terms of reference (PDF, 77 KB)

  • Photo of Ron Wallace, chair of the Coal Policy Committee

    Ron Wallace, chair

    Ron Wallace is an internationally recognized expert in regulatory policies associated with environmental assessment and monitoring. He has served on numerous regulatory boards dealing with energy and environmental issues, in addition to extensive experience in the private sector. He was also a permanent member of the National Energy Board.

  • Photo of Fred Bradley, member of the Coal Policy Committee

    Fred Bradley

    Fred Bradley is a former Alberta minister of the environment under Premier Peter Lougheed and served as MLA for Pincher Creek-Crowsnest. He has previously served as the chair of the Alberta Research Council and chair of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Board.

  • Photo of Natalie Charlton, member of the Coal Policy Committee

    Natalie Charlton

    Natalie Charlton is the executive director at Hinton and District Chamber of Commerce. She has served on various boards and has experience advocating for alternative energy resources.

  • Photo of Bill Trafford, member of the Coal Policy Committee

    Bill Trafford

    Bill Trafford is the president of the Livingstone Landowners’ Group, which represents landowners and supporters of the Livingstone-Porcupine area of Alberta. He has 35 years of experience in the IT industry and the health sector.

  • Gender neutral silhouette of a person, indicating no photo available for this user.

    Eric North Peigan

    Eric North Peigan is a member of Piikani Nation, a jeweler and silversmith by trade, and a small business owner. He has operated a jewelry business for more than 30 years and, more recently, has opened White Buffalo Tipi camp, which provides an immersive cultural experience for tourists.

Last updated: January 14, 2022