EDMONTON — Regulatory documents indicate federal scientists still have significant concerns over Shell’s proposed Jackpine oilsands mine expansion even as the project heads into public hearings.

Five years after Shell Canada first proposed the 100,000-barrel-a-day project, it has been finally scheduled to go before a joint federal-provincial environmental hearing Oct. 29.

In their final submissions to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, several federal departments say they still have questions about Shell’s plans. They include how growth in the industry has outpaced the company’s assessment of cumulative effects, how changing flow in the Athabasca River will affect contaminant levels and how well Shell is able to control effluent from artificial lakes that will be used to store tailings.

“Several matters will require further discussion to fully understand potential project affects (sic) and ensure suitable mitigation can be implemented,” says an Aug. 2 letter from Environment Canada.

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