Vale Canada and Terrapure recognized for reclamation efforts

Vale’s Copper Cliff south mine. Photo by P199, Wikimedia Commons.

Following the development of a reclamation program that involves the application of treated biosolids to the Central Tailings Area at the Copper Cliff nickel mine in Ontario, Vale Canada and its partner in the project, Terrapure Environmental, received an Environmental Leader Award for Project of the Year.

Instead of incinerating or landfilling nutrient-rich organics, Terrapure worked with Vale to develop a program to apply treated biosolids to its Central Tailings Area for reclamation and revegetation

The awards are presented every year by the Environmental Leader, a Colorado-based trade publication, and they recognize excellence in projects that add significant value to energy, environmental and sustainability management efforts.

In a press release, Terrapure and Vale Canada said their work at Copper Cliff allowed the miner to divert over 100,000 tonnes of biosolids from disposal and create a natural habitat on 175 hectares of mine-impacted lands.

The program is also said to have allowed the subsidiary of Brazilian giant Vale to offset conventional reclamation costs and still achieve the results management was looking for.

“Biosolids are a new and innovative approach to tailings reclamation for the mining industry,” Glen Watson, Superintendent of Reclamation and Decommissioning of Vale’s Ontario Operations, said in the media statement. “We’ve had excellent plant growth yield under very challenging conditions where they have been applied in Vale’s Central Tailings Area. The success of this program is something we can all be proud of and learn from in the future.”

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