Environmental groups are up in arms over Bighorn Mining’s plans to open an underground test mine at its Vista coal mine near Hinton, Alberta. The Canadian Press quoted Renato Gandia, spokesperson for the Alberta Energy Regulator, as saying the company had started construction, but it was limited to the underground portion of the mine. “Coalspur has not commenced mining activities at Vista Test Underground Mine,” she said. “As of December 31, 2023, no coal has been mined at the underground mine and the portal had not been constructed.”

The company has received all necessary provincial permits for the test mine. Bighorn believes that, because the test mine doesn’t expand the mine’s overall footprint, no additional permits are required.