Overview

With your input, we will develop a modern coal policy to protect the areas Albertans cherish while allowing responsible resource development in appropriate places. Your feedback will inform our long-term approach to coal development.

To help ensure the views of all Albertans are represented during the process, we’ve established the Coal Policy Committee, an independent group to lead a comprehensive engagement.

The committee will consider feedback provided by Albertans through an online survey while they create a detailed engagement approach.

We will also work directly with Indigenous leaders and communities throughout the engagement to ensure their perspectives are heard and considered.

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 has directed coal companies to halt exploration on Category 2 lands, effective April 23.

Get involved

The engagement will have many ways to get involved. More opportunities to participate will be added as the engagement progresses. Check back often or sign up for updates.

Participate online

You can connect with the committee through the online engagement tool:

  • Submit a document - share a paper or document on a topic relevant to Alberta's coal policy. Documents may be posted publicly.

Engage with the committee

Email the committee

Indigenous engagement

  • Alongside the committee-led engagement, the Minister of Energy will directly engage Indigenous communities to ensure their perspectives on coal development are heard and considered in the development of a new coal policy.
  • Indigenous Peoples are welcome to participate in the committee-led engagement process.

Progress updates

  • Committee updates

    The Coal Policy Committee will post frequent progress updates and summaries as activities are completed.

  • Survey: Analysis of results

    Albertans shared feedback to help inform the next steps of the coal policy engagement through an online survey from March 29 to April 19, 2021.

    This is a summary of the survey results:

    • The majority of Albertans feel the management of the province’s coal resources affect them.
    • “Environmental impacts of coal development” and “if and where coal development takes place” were ranked by respondents as the most important issues when discussing Alberta’s coal policy.
    • The majority of respondents feel there are areas of the province that are not appropriate for coal development, while almost one-third of respondents say that there are areas of the province where development could be appropriate.
    • Albertans would like to participate in additional online surveys and virtual meetings, as well as provide input directly to the committee.
    • Respondents want to learn more about the approval processes for exploration and development, as well as the coal categories, which dictate where and how coal leasing, exploration and development can occur.
    • The majority of respondents expressed concerns about coal exploration and development.

    Coal policy engagement: initial engagement survey results

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.

Coal Policy Committee

A committee has been established to develop and lead a widespread engagement process that captures the views of all Albertans. The members represent a wide-range of perspectives on coal development.

The committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Energy. Their final report is due November 15, 2021.

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.

Contact

Connect with the Coal Policy Committee:

Email: [email protected]

Sign up for updates

Sign up to receive updates on coal policy engagement by email.

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

The personal information collected through www.alberta.ca/coalengagement will be used for the purpose of providing you with coal policy engagement updates.

This personal information collection is authorized under section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act.

If you have any questions about this collection of personal information, you may contact [email protected].

Last updated: July 8, 2021

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