The proposed coal mine will move into the process of formal hearings in October. Conservation Director with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's southern Alberta chapter, Katie Morrison, says that mining projects in Crowsnest could impact the water supply in Lethbridge.
"The impact of removing water from stream on all the down stream users, and that includes Lethbridge. All of the water in Lethbridge is from the Old Man River basin, and where this mine is located in upper Old Man. We are looking at health and environmental impacts, and the recreation values of the area".
Benga Mining Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Riversdale Resources Limited, is working to build an open-pit metallurgical coal mine. The mine would be located approximately seven kilometres north of Blairmore.
It would produce a maximum of 4.5-million tonnes of coal per year over a lifespan of 25 years.
The Livingstone Landowners’ Group is notably impacted, and shared their worry about the project.
"There is a lot of concern that these toxic elements will leach into the water. It will certainly have a significant impact on the cutthroat trout and bull trout which are endangered. It can have an impact on human health, depending on the degree to which you see this (seeping) into the water supply," says Livingstone Landowners’ Group secretary, Bobbi Lambright.
Exact dates for formal hearings have not been announced. The plan is to hold local hearings sometime in October.