Assessment of Organic Residuals for Obed Mountain Mine Reclamation

PDF version
Sherritt Coal

Sherritt Coal owns and operates the Obed Mountain Mine (OMM), located approximately 300 kilometres west of Edmonton, Alberta.  As reclamation activities at the mine increase concurrent with the mine ending its production life, a significant shortfall in topsoil resources has been identified.  Sherritt expressed an interest in understanding opportunities to utilize organic residuals to augment the topsoil shortfall at the mine.

SYLVIS's relationship with Sherritt extends back to a SYLVIS biosolids demonstration project at the Genesee Coal Mine, where Sherritt is the contracted coal mining company.  To further their understanding of the regional availability of organic residuals, Sherritt retained SYLVIS to complete an inventory of organic residuals within the vicinity of the OMM.  SYLVIS contacted several residuals generators, including compost facilities, wastewater treatment plant, and pulp and paper companies, to assess residuals availability.  SYLVIS developed an inventory matrix which presented the residuals generator, annual volumes generated, current practices, and level of interest in pursuing other management options. 

SYLVIS has identified sources of residuals that total approximately 350,000 cubic metres, and an inventory of approximately 1.4 million cubic metres.  These volumes are commensurate with the needs of the OMM.  In addition to completing the inventory, SYLVIS also engaged Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), to gauge regulatory interest in using residuals as a reclamation tool at the OMM.  The regulators are supportive of the use of organic residual at OMM.  SYLVIS is currently in the process of working with Sherritt, OMM, and ESRD to develop an operational-scale project to demonstrate the beneficial use of organic residuals in reclamation activities at the OMM.  From assessing the feasibility of organic residuals use through regulatory consultation and eventual project implementation, this project demonstrates SYLVIS’s turn-key abilities in developing and implementing beneficial use options for organic residuals.