The Grande Cache Coal project

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1064, 2002

P. Cain and B. Martens

Grande Cache Coal (GCC), an investor-owned Alberta company, is in the final stages of the regulatory process leading to the resumption of coal mining in the Smoky River Coal Field of Alberta. Although many opportunities for low-cost, high-yield mining remained on the property, GCC opted for a long-term production plan that ensures stability for the local economy, sustainable use of the resources in the area, environmental responsibility and a satisfactory return for its investors. GCC entered the Alberta coal approval process in late 2000 with a public disclosure document. In October 2001, GCC formally submitted an application for mining approval and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to the government and the public. The application covered the proposed Grande Cache Coal project, which includes the No. 7 underground mine, No. 8 surface mine and coal processing operations. The EIA provided a comprehensive investigation of environmental sensitivities in the project area, matched with environmental protection programs. The project is based on commencement of operations in late 2002. GCC’s plans are founded on a commitment to sustainable development and has framed this commitment in the context of a long-range mine development plan that will sustain the community of Grande Cache over the next 25 years. The Grande Cache coalfields offer extensive coal reserves and opportunities, for both surface and underground mining. Combining highly productive U.S.-style room-and-pillar underground mining methods and conventional truck-and-shovel open pit mining, GCC’s approach to sustainable development encompasses community involvement and reclamation of mine sites to productive land uses after mining.
Mots Clés: Grande Cache Coal project, Coal mining, Sustainable development, Reclamation.