This community information site has been established to provide timely and relevant information following a breach of a containment pond at the Obed Mountain Mine.

On April 28, 2014, Westmoreland Coal Company and Sherritt International Corporation concluded a sale transaction that had been planned since early 2013. Westmoreland acquired Sherritt’s coal assets, including Coal Valley Resources Inc. (which is now Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC, the corporate entity that currently owns Obed Mountain Mine).

On October 31, 2013, Obed experienced a breach of a containment pond that led to the release of process water into the nearby river system. Sherritt led the initial response, and – since the closing of the transaction – Westmoreland has been working with consultants, regulators, First Nations, community groups, and other stakeholders on response and remediation activities that aim to return impacted area to pre-incident conditions. While no longer the owner of Obed, Sherritt retains the ultimate responsibility for all commitments and obligations resulting from the incident.

Rehabilitation has been successful to date and will continue under work plans approved by the applicable regulatory authorities. Extensive, multi-year studies have confirmed that there are no lasting impacts to the Athabasca River or its fish populations. Prairie Mines has reviewed and enhanced its policies and procedures with respect to water management and dam inspection to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

On June 9, 2017, the Provincial Court of Alberta handed down a number of penalties from the federal and provincial crowns relating to the incident. Prairie Mines is pleased that a portion of the funds collected as penalties in this matter will be used to fund various research programs designed to provide future benefits to the environment. Prairie Mines will endeavor to promptly fulfill all court orders in the interest of responsibly concluding the regulatory process, and in fulfilling its commitment of ensuring responsible operations for all Albertans.

Thursday, June 1st, 2017Updated Data and Analysis and Remediation Next Steps

Data collected under the Long Term Sampling and Monitoring Program submitted to the Regulator May 15, 2017.

Final Remediation designs are being reviewed by the Regulator with work planned summer and fall 2017.

Monthly Reports, Plans, data and analysis updated May 15, 2017.

Friday, January 29th, 2016Long Term Sampling and Monitoring Plan Updated and Submitted to Regulator
  • CVRI has updated the Long Term Sampling and Monitoring Plan and submitted the following updates to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) on January 15:
    • Updated Solids Recovery Report
    • Updated Impact Assessment Report
    • Updated Human Health Risk Assessment
  • These documents can be found on the Plans & Reports page
  • Data collection for the Wildlife Mitigation Plan continues and is reported on in the updated Impact Assessment Report
  • Initial findings for 2015 related to the Fish Sampling and Monitoring Plan are also reported on in the Updated Impact Assessment Report
  • CVRI will continue to analyze 2015 data collected under the regulator-approved plans

Previous Updates

Our Response Effort

We will ensure we understand and address the cause and any impacts of the incident as thoroughly and quickly as possible. We are committed to keeping the community well informed of our progress.