This community information site has been established to provide timely and relevant information following a breach of a containment pond at the Obed Mountain Mine.
On April 28, 2014, Westmoreland Coal Company (“Westmoreland”) and Sherritt International Corporation (“Sherritt”) concluded a sale transaction that had been planned since early 2013.
Westmoreland has acquired Sherritt’s coal assets, including Coal Valley Resources Inc. (“CVRI”), which owns and operates Obed Mountain Mine (“Obed”). CVRI, under Westmoreland, will continue to own and operate Obed.
CVRI is currently working with expert consultants carrying out monitoring and remediation activities for the Obed release. While no longer the owner and operator of CVRI and Obed, Sherritt retains the ultimate responsibility for all commitments and obligations resulting from the release at Obed, including monitoring and remediation activities and addressing Aboriginal and community concerns, and is working closely with CVRI and Westmoreland on these issues.
All future updates will be issued by CVRI.
Operations at the Obed Mountain Mine were staged-down in November 2012 in response to low coal prices. There are currently no plans to resume active mining and processing operations.
Since November 2012, Obed has been undergoing reclamation to restore previously mined areas to permanent vegetation, lake development and forest . Reclamation is an ongoing process that all mines, including active sites, undertake as a normal and progressive component of their operations. As of December 31, 2013, approximately 644 hectares, or 34% of the total mine area, had been reclaimed and converted to permanent vegetation, lake development and forest.
- Water sampling and monitoring continues under the approved winter schedule.
- An updated Human Health Risk Assessment was filed in January 2015. Based on the data collected to date, no adverse human health effects are predicted for any of the scenarios evaluated.
- A complete assessment is planned for the top five kilometres of Apetowun Creek and the sediment traps. This will ensure that there are no impediments and will note any work needed during the 2015 season.
- Cameras remain in place to monitor wildlife and a winter track count has been completed. See recent photographs of wildlife around the site: Photos.
- Reporting documents continue to be posted on the Obed website on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. See reports: Plans & Reports and Data Collection.
- Sampling and monitoring activities will move towards long-term schedules for the winter season. Regular sampling and monitoring will continue until freeze up.
- Seed germination program and invasive weeds assessment is now complete for the 2014 season.
- A site tour was held on September 9th for the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Health, and the University of Alberta.
- A dam safety inspection was completed by the Alberta Energy Regulator on September 12th.
- Settling ponds around the site have been pumped down to prepare for annual maintenance work.
- Weekly and monthly status reports are being posted on the “Plans & Reports” page of the Obed website.
The third quarter report, data collection and sampling will be complete and posted to the website October 15th. This report will summarize technical details on a number of evaluation, management and remediation activities.
The Fish Sampling and Monitoring Plan is nearing completion. The Human Health Risk Assessment Plan is currently under development and slated for review in November.