A decision on whether to start a proposed oilsands project north of Fort McMurray is being delayed.
Construction on the Frontier Oilsands Mine, which would be located around 110 km north of town, will have to wait a little longer as a Joint Review Panel continues to conduct an environmental assessment.
In a release on Tuesday, Environment Canada says the panel is receiving a 240-day extension of their review to determine if the project will move forward.
In a letter sent to the Minister of Environment and the Alberta Energy Regulator, the panel says the reason they wanted the extension was more time to review the more than 30,000 pages of material on the matter and a chance to update themselves on the changes to the project which include an expansion of a mine pit, the lose of a development area, and a new bridge over the Athabasca River.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation also asked for a portion of their hearing in Fort Chipewyan, something that panel notes they couldn’t have done in their timeline.
The Frontier project, which was proposed by Teck Resources, would cost $20.6 billion, cover over 252 squared kilometres, and is expected to create around 7,000 construction jobs and 2,500 full-time jobs when finished.
If approved, construction would start in 2019 – lasting until 2026.