British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Soil salvage and placement : breaking new ground at Teck’s Cheviot open pit coal mine Paquin, L.D.; Brinker, C.


Soil management is an integral component of land reclamation at Teck, Cardinal River Operations’ (CRO) Cheviot open pit coal mine in the subalpine subregion of Alberta’s east slopes. Reclamation objectives at the mine include forest establishment, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and recreational use, and soil management practices determine in large part the success in achieving these objectives. We employ a unique combination of soil salvage and placement techniques. The salvage process incorporates all organic matter, including tree slash, trunks and roots - no burning disposal of tree slash occurs beforehand. This maximises the volume of organic matter incorporated during the soil salvage process and improves soil quality, while promoting the natural recovery of native plant species. Soil placement utilises a “rough-mounding” technique in which the dozer keeps the soil in front of the blade during the push. This practice results in a very rough, mounded surface that avoids soil compaction and provides a range of micro-sites, essential in this extremely windy, exposed environment. The resulting irregular soil thickness provides a suitable range in conditions for native plant re-establishment and encourages the redevelopment of soil and vegetation processes.

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