British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Integration of mine development planning and reclamation at a plains coal strip mine : the Highvale Mine experience McQueen, Donald K.; Wenzel, E. C.; Bateman, J. C.; Hartley, B.


The Highvale Mine is located in Central Alberta, 65 km west of Edmonton. It is the largest of several coal strip mines operating in agricultural areas of Alberta. Government guidelines require that mined land be returned to a capability equivalent to or better than that which existed before mining. Mine development planning, driven primarily by the economic extraction of coal, must also incorporate the goal of satisfactory reclamation. Satisfactory reclamation can only be achieved where land capability objectives are clearly stated along with the system by which it is measured. Planning at the Highvale Mine incorporates an assessment of premine capability in order to establish targets for the reclaimed landscape. To achieve these capability targets significant efforts are made in preparing soil material handling plans which achieve the dual goals of economic extraction of coal, and return of mined land to an acceptable capability. Optimization of soil handling, especially through reduction of soil transport or storage, has been effectively integrated into mine development plans with the use of a geographic information system. Current research into alternative methods of salvage combined with continued assessment of the suitability of overburden material points to success.

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