One of the companies that had planned to build an open-pit coal mine in the Rocky Mountains has signed an agreement with an Alberta government agency to work toward converting the project to renewable energy.

Montem Resources has announced a memorandum of understanding with Invest Alberta, part of the provincial economic development ministry.

Although few details were immediately available, the parties say the deal means they will work together to build a green hydrogen complex in the southwest corner of the province. 

Montem says the project, which would use wind power instead of natural gas, would create 200 construction jobs and 30 full-time positions.

The company has also applied to regulators for a coal mine on the same site. 

Montem CEO Peter Doyle has said the Australian-owned company will decide by the end of June which of the two projects it will pursue. 

The company began examining the renewables project after the growth of public opposition to open-pit mines in the Rockies.

It also cites the uncertain length of the regulatory process for coal mines as a reason to consider hydrogen.