Despite approval, Teck oil sands mine is an economically risky climate disaster

July 26, 2019

Project’s greenhouse gas emissions estimated to be 48% higher than reported; finance institute calls project ‘not commercially viable’

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Today a Joint Panel made up of officials from the Canadinan Environmental Assessment Agency and the Alberta Energy Regulator released its recommendation on the Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project. Despite finding that the project would have “significant adverse effects” on both the environment and Indigenous Peoples, the panel recommended approving the project with 64 conditions, a decision decried by international environmental organization

Vancouver-based Teck Resources is proposing to develop the new mega-mine in Alberta, which would be the largest oil sands project ever proposed. The project is expected to cost more than $20 billion and become operational in 2026 and continue operation for 41 years.  

“In order to ensure a safe climate, Canada committed to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. The math simply doesn’t add up — Canada can’t meet our international commitments while continuing to grow the oil and gas industry through projects like the Teck Mine,” said Sven Biggs, Climate and Energy Campaigner at

In its August 2018 filing to the Joint Panel Review by the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition estimated that Teck underreported its greenhouse gas emissions by 48%.

“Teck’s estimation of GHG emissions from the Project excludes upstream emissions from the production of natural gas and diesel fuels used on site, as well as GHG emissions resulting from land use changes related to the Project. Emissions from the upstream production of natural gas and diesel fuels used on site and land use changes [are] an additional 48 percent above Teck’s GHG emission estimate,” reads the submission.

A September 2018 report by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) also raised serious economic and environmental concerns about the project. The report, written by IEEFA Director Tom Sanzillo, who is also the former deputy comptroller of New York State, calls the project “not commercially viable” and outlines the financial risks associated with the mine. 

“From now until 2026, the first year of commercial operation, neither oil price increases nor production cost declines for oil sands are likely to be sufficient to improve its financial prospects. The project can expect financial distress for its entire life cycle,” reads the report.


Media contact: Sven Biggs, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Stand.Earth,, 778-882-8354