High River is awaiting a response from Northback Holdings on its concerns regarding the Grassy Lake Mine.

The Alberta Energy Regulator received an application from Northback, formerly Benga Mining, and the Town was among the groups to file a letter of concern.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass says he's concerned about how intense lobbying by an Australian coal company is impacting the provincial government.

He says Northback Holdings must have gotten some kind of positive response before it decided to make another application for Grassy Mountain.

"The problem is right now, is again we have our Alberta government being lobbied by the Coal Association of Canada as well as these Australian coal mining companies and they've hired a Toronto, Eastern Canada lobbying firm to come in again and meet with all our ministers and, in my mind, that's what's got us into the crux of where we are today, with this latest application by Northback Holdings formerly Benga, that applied for Grassy Mountain and got denied."

"So now the AER (Alberta Energy Regulator) has accepted an application from Northback to do exploration for the same project that was denied, so there's only one thing in my mind, the Coal Association of Canada and the Australian mining company and the lobbying firm got enough feedback from our Alberta government that they were confident enough to even put the application forward."

Snodgrass says he can't understand how the company can make another application for a project that was denied because it "wasn't in the public interest."

"The far more concerning point is that it looks to me as though Alberta is again being worked over by these Aussie coal mining companies and I'm afraid that we're back at square one."

"But I'll tell you what, everybody needs to have their eyes wide open with where our Alberta government is going on this one, we're not going to get blindsided again."

He says that's why the Town submitted a Letter of Concern to the AER.

Northback has until November 10 to respond to the Town.

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