Vale Canada and Terrapure win Environmental Award for mine rehabilitation project using biosolids
Terrapure Environmental and Vale Canada received an Environmental Leader Award for Project of the Year for their new, sustainable option for managing biosolids during winter months, when farmland application is prohibited and storage is complicated. 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. It was the first project of its kind in Ontario.
The Environmental Leader Awards recognize excellence in projects that add significant value to energy, environmental and sustainability management efforts. Winners are awarded based on scores from a panel of distinguished judges with extensive experience in environmental management.
"The program is new for the province, so we're excited to see other mines follow Vale's lead in identifying biosolids as an innovative, cost-effective reclamation option," said Jeff Newman, Director of Business Development at Terrapure Organics Solutions. "This approach is a real win-win. It provides an off-season biosolids management alternative and Vale gets a highly effective tailings revegetation solution."
Terrapure and Vale Canada partnered at the Copper Cliff tailings area in the Greater Sudbury Area. Vale had been successful in using conventional methods to remediate inactive tailings sites, but all had been costly with varying levels of success. By using biosolids, Vale was able to greatly offset conventional reclamation costs, which can include extensive soil or tailings amendments, and still achieve the results they were looking for.
"Biosolids are a new and innovative approach to tailings reclamation for the mining industry," said Glen Watson, Superintendent of Reclamation and Decommissioning of Vale's Ontario Operations. "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."
To date, the project has diverted over 100,000 tonnes of biosolids from disposal, and 175 hectares of mine-impacted lands are now able to provide a natural habitat.
While the overall caliber of entries was exceptionally high this year, judges agreed that Vale and Terrapure's beneficial re-use project demonstrated impressive results. One judge noted: "I am always happy to see positive environmental projects that are also viable from an economic standpoint in helping solve problems."
This is the third consecutive year Terrapure has been honoured with an Environmental Leader Award. Previously, the company was recognized for its innovative centrifuge technology and oil recycling program.
The award was publicly announced on May 14, 2019, at the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference in Denver, CO.
For more information about biosolids programs, visit Terrapure Organics Solutions at www.terrapureenv.com/service/organics-solutions/. For more information on the Environmental Leader Awards, visit www.environmentalleader.com/product-project-awards-2019/.