(Reuters) - Teck Resources Ltd said on Monday it targets to be carbon neutral across all its operations by 2050, as the miner awaits the Canadian government’s decision on the approval of the Frontier oil sands project.
Teck’s target, which aligns with Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, comes more than a month after the environment minister said the government will take into account the country’s climate plan when it considers approval of the Frontier project.
At full capacity, the C$20.6 billion ($15.55 billion) Frontier project could produce 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen in northern Alberta, making it one of the largest in the oil sands.
All 14 First Nations and Metis communities that would be directly affected have signed agreements with Teck, supporting the project. Other indigenous groups staunchly oppose it, saying the impact of more oil moving across western Canada affects many more communities.
If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approves Frontier, it would jeopardize his promise over Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Saying no could infuriate Alberta, which is already angry over a perceived federal bias against the energy industry.
Canada also has the power to delay a decision on whether to approve the oil sands project.
Teck said the initial plan to achieve carbon neutrality includes looking at alternative ways of moving materials at its mines, using cleaner power sources and implementing efficiency improvements, among others.
Several Canadian companies have come out with carbon neutrality targets as the spotlight increasingly shifts to climate change, with investors in the region becoming more vocal about environmental, social and governance issues.
Opposition from environmental and indigenous groups has also stalled new pipeline projects in the region that are needed to move Canadian crude to refineries.
Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri