Tarsands project in Alberta gets regulator approval despite Métis objections

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The Alberta Energy Regulator has given the green light to a northern Alberta tarsands project despite much to the chagrin of local Indigenous people who said it will encroach on sacred lands and may affect their drinking water.

Rigel tarsands would churn out 10,000 barrels a day. The project is proposed by privately held Prosper Petroleum Ltd. of Calgary.

APTN National News said construction is expected to cost $390 million, with a further $50 million earmarked for drilling and completing wells before startup.

The project is being built with the support of partner Petrolama Namur Oil Sands Energy, a subsidiary of Czech Republic-based Lama Energy Group, as its first tarsands investment.

But the Fort McKay Métis Community Association board is not happy about the decision.

“It’s close to a sacred place, Moose Lake, which the community has used for centuries and continues to use and this project is definitely going to affect that traditional and cultural use,” said Eddison Lee-Johnson, the board’s executive director.

The Rigel project would employ up to six well-pads with eight well-pairs drilled from each pad, with an impact on 106 hectares of its total lease area of 768 hectares and a production life of about 24 years.

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