TransAlta announces plan to stop mining coal at Highvale, stop using coal in Canada

TransAlta Corp. says it will end mining operations at its Highvale coal mine by the end of 2021 and will stop using coal to power its generators in Canada effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Located south of Wabamun Lake, Alta., about 70 kilometres west of Edmonton, Highvale Mine is one of three TransAlta-owned surface coal mines.

According to the company website, it is Canada’s largest surface strip coal mine and covers more than 12,600 hectares.  The mine has been in operation since 1970. 

TransAlta chief executive Dawn Farrell said the closing will come four years ahead of its original off-coal schedule for the mine.

The company said its Keephills Unit 1 and Sundance Unit 4 will stop using coal and will only operate on gas.

The announcement came as TransAlta reported a loss attributable to common shareholders of $136 million or 50 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a profit of $51 million or 18 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter totalled $514 million, down from $593 million in the same quarter last year.

TransAlta has electrical power generation assets in Canada, the United States and Australia.