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About Obed Mountain Mine

Overview
A thermal coal mine that produces export-quality coal sold on the international market. It is currently not operating.

Location
Approximately 30 km East of Hinton, Alberta, Canada.

Land area
7,460 ha.

Production capacity
3.2 million tonnes of coal per year. (0.2 million tonnes produced in 2012).

Coal reserves
2.6 million tonnes (proven) and 84.7 million tonnes (measured resources).

History
  • Purchased by Westmoreland Coal Company in April 2014, with operations to be managed by Coal Valley Resources Inc.
  • Began operating in 1984.
  • Acquired by Sherritt International Corporation as part of acquisition of Luscar Ltd. in 2001.
  • Operations were staged-down in 2003 due to depressed coal prices on world market, making Obed too costly to operate.
  • Reopened in 2009 to meet increased demand for coal at higher prices.
  • Staged-down again in November 2012 due to low coal prices.

Operations
Obed Mountain Mine is a dragline-and-shovel operation. When operating, it utilizes a dragline and shovel to remove the overburden, with the shovel loading the coal onto haul trucks. Coal is hauled to an adjacent processing plant, where it is crushed, cleaned and dried. From the processing plant, the coal is sent to a storage and rail-loading facility by an 11 km-long conveyor for further transportation by rail to port.

Water Management
Water management practices were developed to divert clean surface runoff water around the mine area; these systems are referred to as primary drainage systems.

Water from the mine pits and mine spoils are managed separately by systems referred to as secondary drainage systems, designed to ensure safe, stable, and efficient operations and minimize any adverse affect of sediment-laden drainage from the mine on the water quality of the natural surface water.

Containment Ponds
The containment ponds at the Obed Mountain Mine contain ground water and water used in the process of washing coal.  Coal is washed to remove matter such as rock and clay. The ponds contain water, mixed with naturally occurring material, mainly clay, mud, shale and coal fines. The containment ponds are used to settle out the solid material from the water, and the water is typically recycled into the coal wash plant.

When water reaches the containment ponds, typically the flocculant Рan organic substance is added to help settle clay, dirt and other sediment. Flocculants are  commonly used to help purify drinking water.

Reclamation
Reclamation activities have been conducted within the mining area, in accordance to applicable regulations. As at Dec. 31, 2012, the mining areas and facilities measured approximately 1,911 ha. Approximately 624 ha, or 33% of the total mine area, has been reclaimed and converted to permanent vegetation, lake development and commercial forest.

Our Response Effort

We will ensure we understand and address the cause and any impacts of the incident as thoroughly and quickly as possible. We are committed to keeping the community well informed of our progress.