Proposed arctic coal mine draws fire

A proposed coal mine in the Canadian Arctic, which was rejected in 2010, is back on the table.

It comes as there is a greater focus on the region's untapped resources.

Earlier this year ArceloMittal's massive Mary River iron ore project announced that it had passed regulator hurdles and forecast to begin digging early next year.

The thinning of the ice sheet in the north, and in the Antarctic, has opened up what was previously a shut off region to mining and resource companies.

Now Canada Coal has announced it has planned test drilling next year on the Fosheim Peninsula at Nunavut, in Canada's far north, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The focus would be on the Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands, which have been historically known for their large, but unobtainable coal deposits, due to the ice sheet usually covering them.

Canadian Greens leader Elizabeth May said "when most countries are turning their backs on dirty coal, Canada is allowing its extraction in one of the most ecologically fragile and archeologically significant places in the world".

The area is believed to have an inferred resource of around 21.9 billion tonnes of coal.

"Inferred coal resources within 200 metres of surface were estimated to be in the order of 21,000 million tonnes," according to the company.

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