Brand, D & Etmanski, A 2011, 'Reclamation of the Gregg River Mine, Canada', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 219-226, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_24_Brand
Construction of the Gregg River Mine began in 1981. Coal production occurred continuously from 1983 through to October of 2000. With the closure of the mining operation, site activities switched entirely to completing reclamation of the 1,362 hectares of land that had been disturbed over the life of the mine. The Gregg River Mine was the first large scale open pit mine in Alberta closed under the current closure and reclamation legislation.
The mining and reclamation activities were influenced by a number of climatic, topographic and geographic factors. The mine is located in west central Alberta on the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains, elevations range from 1,400 to 2,000 m and soils are generally thin and rocky. The climate is severely influenced by the mountains and the elevation; snow is common in all months of the year. Strong Chinook winds blow in the winter, melting and moving snow and creating a very difficult growing environment for plants and young seedlings.
The initial five years of the reclamation programme concentrated on completing the recontouring of the disturbed surface, replacement of the previously salvaged surface soil and revegetation of the mining areas. This work included the removal of haul road river crossings, the relocation and reconstruction of surface water streams and the decommissioning of waste water treatment facilities. The second phase of the project was the demolition of the coal processing, equipment maintenance, load out and rail facilities. Soil remediation and land reclamation of these areas followed.
The reclamation objective for the Gregg River Mine is equivalent land capability with designated reclaimed land use objectives of wildlife habitat and watershed protection. A measure of the achievement of equivalent capability and reclamation success may be the abundant wildlife and clear flowing streams throughout the site. Large bighorn sheep, deer, elk, coyote, wolf and grizzly bear populations may be seen on many areas of the site. Recent carnivore activity is one indication of the eventual return of a healthy, balanced and sustainable ecosystem to the reclaimed Gregg River mine site.
Bighorn Environmental Design Ltd. (2003a) Gregg River Mine Winter Track Survey, Coal Valley Resources Inc., Gregg River Mine, 22 p.
Bighorn Environmental Design Ltd. (2003b) Reclamation to Wildlife Habitat in Alberta’s Foothills, Proceedings 27th annual British Columbia Reclamation Symposium, 15–18 September, 10 p.
Bighorn Environmental Design Ltd. (2004) Gregg River Mine Breeding Bird Survey, Coal Valley Resources Inc., Gregg River Mine, 30 p.
Bighorn Environmental Design Ltd. (2008) Summary of Wildlife Response to Mining and Reclamation at Gregg River Mine, 1989 to 2006, Coal Valley Resources Inc., Gregg River Mine, 34 p.
F.F. Slaney & Company (1975) Environmental Impact Assessment For Gregg River Resources Surface Coal Mine, Gregg River Resources Ltd., 387 p.
Government of Alberta (1992) Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Chapter E-12), Queen’s Printer, Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, pp. 91–101.
Government of Alberta (1993) Conservation and Reclamation Regulation (AR 115/1993), Queen’s Printer, Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, 23 p.
Government of Alberta (2009) Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 66, Status of the Athabasca Rainbow Trout, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division, Edmonton, AB, 46 p.
Government of Alberta (2010) Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 37, Status of the Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) in Alberta, Update 2010, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division, Edmonton, AB, 56 p.
Pisces Environmental Consulting Services Ltd. (2011) Limnological Surveys of Five End Pit Lakes on the Gregg River Mine in 2009–2010, Coal Valley Resources Inc., Gregg River Mine, 48 p.
Ursus Ecosystem Management Ltd. (2005) Grizzly Bears and Mining in the Cheviot Region – Retrospective Analysis, Cited with permission of Teck Resources, Cardinal River Operations, Hinton, Alberta, 29 p.