Following public opposition, Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage has made the decision to cancel 11 recently issued coal leases and pause any future coal lease sales in former Category 2 lands. The decision will reverse previous government plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

“We have listened carefully to the concerns raised in recent days, and thank those who spoke up with passion,” Savage said.

The coal leases from the December 2020 auction will be canceled. The decision does not impact existing coal projects currently under regulatory reviews.

Savage pointed out that coal leases do not allow for exploration, development or production without a comprehensive regulatory review.

“A lease holder has no more right to set foot on lease property than any other Albertan,” Savage said. “The same rules apply now, as before.”

This pause will allow the government to “ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.

Coal development is an important part of the economy, but must be done responsibly, she added.