Jackpine Mine Expansion Project:
Government of Canada Response to Panel Recommendations

The Jackpine Mine Expansion Project has undergone a rigorous environmental assessment by a federal-provincial Joint Review Panel. In December 2013, the Minister of the Environment issued a Decision Statement under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) setting out the conditions with which the proponent, Shell Canada Energy, must comply in proceeding with the project.

In addition to the recommendations that could be addressed through conditions included in the Decision Statement, the Panel directed a number of recommendations to the Government of Canada, either alone or in conjunction with the Government of Alberta. Canada has considered these recommendations which address broader issues associated with oil sands development.

With a view to strengthening environmental protection in the oil sands region and promoting positive and long-term relationships with Aboriginal groups, the Government of Canada commits to undertake, continue or support a number of initiatives that will deepen our understanding of environmental effects in the oil sands region and the effects of those changes on Aboriginal traditional land use as well as Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Many of these current and future initiatives are collaborative in nature and involve partnerships with the Government of Alberta, Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders.

Canada reiterates its commitment to:

  • Monitor the regional hydro-climatology and ecology of the Peace Athabasca Delta and the effects changes in climate might have on its productivity and biodiversity, in collaboration with local Aboriginal groups, and governmental or non-governmental organizations;
  • Finalize recovery documents (Recovery Strategies, Management Plans, Action Plans) on a priority basis for species at risk known to occur in the oil sands region as required under the Species at Risk Act, including but not necessarily limited to Wood Bison, Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Common Nighthawk and Rusty Blackbird;
  • Maintain or achieve self-sustaining local populations in all boreal caribou ranges throughout Canada;
  • Deliver effective monitoring mechanisms of downstream fish habitat;
  • Conduct research and monitoring on the long-term effect on migratory bird reproductive success as a result of exposure to tailings ponds; and
  • Fully engage in the Joint Canada/Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.

Canada will work cooperatively with Alberta:

  • On a community baseline health study in collaboration with Aboriginal groups;
  • On the Water Quality Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River under its Lower Athabasca Regional Plan;
  • On water withdrawals from the Athabasca River;
  • On the Surface Water Quantity Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River under its Lower Athabasca Regional Plan;
  • To monitor the impact of oil sands development on the regional environment through monitoring of: substances of concern in air and water; fish and bird health; and biodiversity, including some species at risk and migratory birds;
  • To contribute input as requested on conservation offsets in the context of Alberta's land use planning policies;
  • To contribute technical advice for the development by Alberta of a caribou range plan for the Richardson herd and other herds in the province;
  • To contribute technical or policy knowledge or expertise to improve reclamation and re-colonization of wildlife habitat in the oil sands region;
  • On the incorporation of Aboriginal traditional land use in regional planning and management activities in the Lower Athabasca region; and
  • On regional planning, stewardship of traditional resources and natural resource management in collaboration with Aboriginal groups.

About Aboriginal Consultations

The Government of Canada takes a "Whole of Government" approach to Aboriginal consultation in the context of environmental assessments to ensure that Aboriginal groups are adequately consulted when the Crown contemplates actions that may adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Aboriginal consultation activities are integrated into the environmental assessment process to the greatest extent possible.

The Government of Canada has actively consulted with potentially affected Aboriginal groups regarding the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion Project throughout the environmental assessment process. Funding of $432,487 was provided to Aboriginal groups to help prepare for and participate in key stages of the environmental assessment.

About the Proposal

Shell Canada Energy is proposing to expand the Jackpine Mine project. The expansion would include additional mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure. The project would be located about 70 km north of Fort McMurray on the east side of the Athabasca River. The project would increase bitumen production by 15,900 cubic metres per day, bringing production at the mine to 47,700 cubic metres per day.

For more information, consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 59540, or contact the Agency at info@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

Document reference number: 1444

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