Joint panel established to review proposed Pierre River mine project

OTTAWA, June 8, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter Kent, federal Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Dan McFadyen, Chair of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) of Alberta, today announced the establishment of a three-member joint panel to review the proposed Pierre River Mine project near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Minister Kent and Mr. McFadyen have appointed Mr. Jim Dilay as the Panel chair. Mr. Alex Bolton and Mr. Les Cooke were appointed as the other members of the Panel. Biographical information on the Panel chair and members is available in the accompanying backgrounder.

The Joint Panel Agreement for the Pierre River project and the amendment to the existing Joint Panel Agreement for the Jackpine Mine Expansion project were released today, following a recent public comment period. The changes to both project Agreements allow for the members of the Jackpine Panel to also review the Pierre River project and to coordinate elements of the review processes for both projects to help increase efficiency.

The Agreements establish the mandate and authority of the Panel, its composition and the procedures and timelines for the review processes.

Further details on the scope of the environmental assessments can be found in the terms of reference contained in the Agreements. The Agreements, along with more information on the projects, are available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca under reference # 10-05-59539 for the Pierre River project and # 10-05-59540 for the Jackpine project.

The Pierre River Mine Project proposed by Shell Canada includes the construction, operation and reclamation of an oil sands surface mine and bitumen extraction facilities.  The proposed mining project would be located approximately 90 km north of Fort McMurray on the west side of the Athabasca River. The proposed development includes an open-pit mine, ore handling facility, bitumen extraction facilities, tailings processing facilities, support infrastructure, water and tailings management plans and the construction of a bridge across the Athabasca River. The project is designed to produce a total of 200 000 barrels of bitumen per day.

Shell Canada is also proposing to expand the Jackpine Mine project. The expansion would include additional mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure. The project would be located about 70 km north of Fort McMurray on the east side of the Athabasca River. The expansion project would increase bitumen production by 100 000 barrels per day, bringing production at the mine to 300 000 barrels per day.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of sustainable development.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta. It regulates the safe, responsible, and efficient development of Alberta's energy resources: oil, natural gas, oil sands, coal, and pipelines.


Backgrounder



PROPOSED PIERRE RIVER MINE PROJECT
JOINT REVIEW PANEL - BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Jim Dilay - Panel Chair

Jim Dilay was appointed as a Board Member of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) in January 2008. Mr. Dilay was previously appointed as a Board Member of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB), successor to the previous ERCB, in 1995. He began his career at the ERCB immediately upon graduation from the University of Manitoba in 1971 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and has worked in the organization for more than 40 years.

Prior to being appointed to the Board, Mr. Dilay worked in a number of departments including gas, pipeline, drilling and production, and field operations, and served as Executive Manager of Operations. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. He is currently Alberta's official representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, of which Alberta is an international affiliate.

Mr. Dilay has chaired and served on numerous ERCB and joint ERCB-CEAA hearing panels for the consideration of oil, gas, oil sands, utility, and coal proposals in Alberta.

Alex Bolton - Panel Member

Alex Bolton was appointed as a Board Member of the ERCB in October 2010.

Mr. Bolton is a professional geoscientist and member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.  He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Earth Sciences and has completed a Masters of Management Sciences in Management of Technology through the University of Waterloo.

Prior to joining the ERCB, Mr. Bolton was President and CEO of Epicentre Consulting Inc. He also spent four years as Director, Compliance & Enforcement with the Natural Resources Conservation Board, six years with Anderson Exploration dealing with environmental issues and community and regulatory affairs, and nine years as a Senior Environment Advisor and Exploration/Development Geologist with Home Oil.

Les Cooke - Panel Member

Les Cooke has over 40 years of strategic policy and planning, program management and executive experience with the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and provincial governments in South Africa. Mr. Cooke completed graduate studies in land and resource planning at the University of Alberta. He is President of Les Cooke and Associates, a consultancy focused on strategic management and organizational effectiveness in forest management and infrastructure development.

Mr. Cooke has held executive positions focused on natural resource and environmental management, economic development and strategic policy and planning. He has led national strategic planning processes and has spearheaded new approaches to public sector governance and program management, including integrated land management and partnership-based environmental management. Mr. Cooke has considerable experience in Aboriginal business development, most recently working with First Nations and Métis communities in Saskatchewan to receive wood supply licenses and develop new forestry businesses.

Mr. Cooke has chaired resource management organizations and served on environmental assessment panels. He has chaired the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Wetlands Conservation Corporation and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Heavy Oil and Oil Sands Development. He was a member of the joint federal-provincial panels examining the development of the Kearl oil sands mining and extraction facility and the expansion of the Muskeg River oil sands operation, both in northern Alberta.

SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information:

Lucille Jamault , Communications
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
lucille.jamault@ceaa.gc.ca
613-957-0434 / 613-552-5253

Bob Curran, Communications
Energy Resources Conservation Board
bob.curran@ercb.ca
403-297-3392


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