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Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne has signed a memorandum of understanding with Heidelberg Materials to help with construction of a carbon capture and storage facility.Chris Young

The federal government has signed a deal to work with an Edmonton cement manufacturer to keep carbon dioxide generated at the plant from entering the atmosphere.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday with Heidelberg Materials to help with the construction of a carbon capture and storage facility.

Champagne said negotiations on a federal role in the $1.4-billion project, expected to be operational by 2026, are well advanced.

“The government of Canada will be a significant partner,” he promised.

He said the size of the federal contribution is still being worked out under details of the carbon capture tax credit, announced in the recent federal budget.

“The budget contained a number of tax credits to work out with the company,” Champagne said. “(We need) to see exactly what the amount that would be attributable to the tax credit so we can finalize our contribution.”

The company said the facility would make the plant carbon neutral and it would be the first of its kind in North America.

The project would store the equivalent of carbon produced by 300,000 passenger cars a year, the company said. The carbon dioxide would be piped underground and stored at a facility near Wabamun, Alta., just west of Edmonton.

It is projected to employ more than 2,000 people in the province over the project’s three-year construction period.

Cement manufacturing is a significant source of greenhouse gases, responsible for about seven per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

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