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.
- An updated human health risk assessment was reviewed by Alberta Health, comments have been incorporated and it is now posted on the Obed website. Based on data interpretation to date, no adverse effects are predicted for the scenarios evaluated.
- Visual inspections are being carried out on sediment traps, silt curtains and streams. A work plan is under developed to remove sediment from these locations, which will be sampled and recorded. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) monitors results.
- A site inspection under the Environmental Protection Order (EPO) was carried out by the AER on April 21, 2015.
- An additional sampling program was completed on ponds that discharge into Baseline Creek.
- The latest Impact Assessment Report has been released and indicates no residual, measurable effects on water or sediment quality in Obed area creeks or the Athabasca River. The report also notes that re-vegetation and weed control measures will assist in vegetation recovery; that wildlife surveys have confirmed the presence of mammals, carnivores, hares and rodents; and that the release had measurable but minor effects on fish and fish habitat in upper Apetowun Creek (now stabilized or partially recovered).
- A comprehensive update on remediation activities carried out between November 2013 and August 2014 is available in the Remediation Activities Report and Plan. This document also contains descriptions of ongoing fieldwork.
- Sampling and monitoring programs are ongoing as per the Long-Term Sampling and Monitoring Plan spring / summer EPO requirements.
- Reporting documents continue to be posted on the Obed website on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. See documents: Plans & Reports and Data Collection.
Millennium EMS Solutions Ltd. has completed a review of available data and compiled a Human Health Risk Assessment (Version 3), which can be found in the Plans & Reports section.