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Building Trades Job Opportunities: The Grassy Mountain Project

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The Grassy Mountain steelmaking coal project, located near Blairmore in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, has reached an important new stage in the approval process. On July 11, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Alberta Energy Regulator approved a Joint Review Panel to ensure the coal project meets required federal and provincial laws and regulations, with an emphasis on environmental protections and the concerns of local Indigenous peoples. The review panel will also take public submissions. For Alberta’s building trade members, approval of the Grassy Mountain project will mean new jobs. Find out what you can do to promote the hiring of BTA trades workers. And learn more about how the project can benefit the communities that make up Crowsnest Pass and Alberta as a whole.

Grassy Mountain Coal Project

Source: Environment Canada

Building Trades Jobs

operating engineers

Source: International Union of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 955

Construction Phase Trades Jobs

The construction phase of the Grassy Mountain project is estimated to cost some $730 million, last about 21 months, and result in some 910-person years of on- and off-site employment. The construction trades will benefit.

Once approved, labour demand is expected to ramp up quickly. The demand for trades workers during construction will be mainly for heavy equipment operators, welders, millwrights, pipefitters, iron workers, and electricians. Some of the millwright and iron worker jobs could last for up to 2 years after construction.

Ongoing Operations Jobs

Once in full operation, the Grassy Mountain operation’s production capacity is estimated at 4 million tonnes of clean coal per year. Once processed, the steelmaking coal will be shipped overseas for steel production. The project will have a life-span of about 25 years, with operations expenditures of about $225 million/year, and employment for some 385 full-time workers.

The demand for trades workers will be mainly for heavy equipment operators, millwrights, and process operators.

Take Action to Support the Grassy Mountain Project

Panel members will soon be appointed to the Joint Review Panel. Interested parties will be able to make submissions to the Joint Review Panel and ask questions during hearings.

To support the hiring of building trades workers:

  1. Use social media. Tweet about the project. Follow BTA on Facebook and Twitter. Like posts and remember to retweet.
  2. Let your trade union local know you support the project.
  3. Contact your local MLA or MP. 

Use your street address to find contact information for your MLA.

Use your postal code to find your MP.

Tell them:

“I support the approval of the Grassy Mountain Steelmaking Coal Project.

The project will create well paid jobs and make a major contribution to the diversification of Alberta’s economy.

I urge you to approve this important project and to support the hiring of the best qualified trades workers Alberta has to offer, the members of the Building Trades of Alberta.”

Local and Provincial Benefits

Source: By Keith McClary (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jobs: Local communities cannot fill the labour requirements of the Grassy Mountain project. As a result, the Crowsnest Pass and Ranchland municipalities and neighbouring communities will see an influx of workers to fill well paid jobs.

Economic Growth: The project will contribute to the economic diversification of Alberta and spur regional economic growth in southwestern Alberta.

Population growth: The population growth is an estimated 1100 people. The Crowsnest Pass communities and Sparwood, British Columbia, are expected to see the most growth.

Economic opportunities: As young families locate in the local communities, the project is expected to reinvigorate the region due to expanded business opportunities and increased demand for housing, schools, health care, and other services.

Property Taxes: The project will result in an increased property tax base in local communities totaling some $1.5 million annually.

Provincial and Federal Tax Base: The project will pay an estimated $140 million in provincial corporate taxes and $210 million in federal corporate income taxes, as well as an estimated $195 million in provincial royalties over the project’s operational life.

Grassy Mountain Project Facts

  • The Grassy Mountain project will develop an open-pit metallurgical coal mine. It is a steelmaking coal and coal processing project, not a thermal coal project.
  • Direct, related infrastructure includes temporary housing for construction workers, a coal conveyor system, load-out facilities for rail transport, maintenance shops, environmental management systems, and so on.
  • The project is being developed by Benga Mining Limited, a subsidiary of Riversdale Resources, which is an Australian mining company.
  • Benga purchased the properties in 2013.
  • Alberta Energy Regulator began its environmental review of the project in November 2015.
  • The project will redevelop the Grassy Mountain surface mine area, an open pit mining area that shut down more than 30 years ago. The site currently shows the damage done by previous mining.
  • Benga Mining has promised cleanup and remediation of the site when the mine's useful economic life is over.
  • The project is consulting with local Indigenous peoples and offering employment opportunities.
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The Building Trades of Alberta coordinates and promotes the interests of 16 Alberta trade unions whose 75,000 members work in the residential, commercial and industrial construction, maintenance and fabrications industries.


Nationally, Building Trades of Alberta joins the other Provincial Councils that make up Canada's Building Trades Unions. Canada's Building Trades Unions, in turn, is a member of the Building and Construction Trades Department centred in Washington, D.C.

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