CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to prioritize the approval of the Teck Frontier oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray.

Kenney says there is no reason to delay the go-ahead of the $20.6-billion  project near Wood Buffalo National Park.

If approved, the Teck Frontier mine could potentially produce up to 260 thousand barrels of oil each day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year for more than 40 years. That amount equates to an additional 20 per cent of Canada’s oilsands emissions over the next three decades and would pose a significant obstacle towards the federal Liberals’ goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The project has been met with controversy. Just last week, an anti-oilsands protest took place in downtown Calgary with a pro-energy group holding a counter-rally of its own.

Extinction Rebellion, an environmental group, scheduled the protest outside of Teck Resources Ltd. in strong opposition of the mine. Members of the non-partisan, pro-pipeline group Canada Action, joined in to stand their ground and show their support for federal approval of the project.

A federal-provincial review last summer determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would be potentially detrimental to the environment and the land of Indigenous people.

The project itself is expected to create 7,000 jobs, including 2,500 long-term positions, and generate around $70 billion in government revenue over its lifespan.

Kenney says his government's new Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation will provide money to First Nations groups to help them invest in major resource projects like the mine, Trans Mountain Pipeline or Coastal Gas Link. The $1 billion crown corporation was created last October. It now has a permanent board and the funds will be dispersed over the next four years.

The Trudeau government must make a decision on the Frontier mine’s approval under the Environmental Assessment Act by the end of February.

With files from the Canadian Press.