Faced with a changing environmental landscape, a Crowsnest Pass mining operation is looking at shifting gears.
Australian-based Montem Resources, which operated the Tent Mountain open-pit mine, 16 kilometres west of Coleman, is changing its focus and name as it moves into the renewable energy field.
In a presentation to Crowsnest Pass council Sept. 12, president Peter Doyle announced that Montem will now be known as Evolve Power Group and has partnered with TransAlta in the new venture.
“The CEO of TransAlta and I meet regularly. I have no doubt in vouching for their commitment to this project,” said Doyle to council.
“I know you see the significance of this. It’s a billion-dollar investment,” he added.
TransAlta, Doyle continued, brings experience, already operating a hydro-generating plant near Drayton Valley.
The move, though, is a new direction for Montem, which has said it’s in the process of exiting its coal business and ceased all coal development activities.
“Unfortunately, we had to make a pivot, but we’re very proud that we’re able to make the change,” Doyle continued.
The new operation will have both an upper and lower reservoir and feature pumped-storage hydroelectric storage or PHES.
According to the PowerPoint presentation, PHES is a closed-loop system of non-fish-bearing water that cycles between the two reservoirs.
While the new Tent Mountain proposal will still need to go through the proper regulatory approval and community engagement, Doyle is confident of its value, not only to Alberta’s power grid, but to the area, as well.
“At its peak during construction, it will provide jobs for close to 200 people, and 30 permanent positions.”
Once built, the project is expected to generate power for a period of 80-plus years to some 400,000 Alberta homes and to eliminate up to 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year into the environment.
And, while not formally in place, Evolve is working toward another partnership with the Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Piikani and Siksika nations, of at least a 10 per cent ownership stake.
If approved, construction would begin in 2026 and be completed sometime in 2028.