Whitewood coal mine
TransAlta's Whitewood Mine is one of three TransAlta-owned surface coal mines, which is slated to be decommissioned by 2013. The mine is located north of Lake Wabamun, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The plant opened in 1962. Prairie Mines & Royalty Ltd. (PMRL) operates the mine on behalf of TransAlta.
The Whitewood Mine is a sub-bituminous surface coal mine covering 3,331 hectares (8,231 acres).
Up until March 2010 the Whitewood Mine supplied 1.4 million tonnes of coal annually to TransAlta's now closed Wabamun thermal generating plant.
An important part of decommissioning a mine is the reclamation process that follows. TransAlta has made provisions for renaturalisation to continue as far as 2013, three years after the Whitewood mine is slated to close. Already, the coal-depleted portions of the site have been subject to rebeautification, with pits being reclaimed as lakes or being filled-in with backfill. Much of the backfill land is now lain with local subsoils and rich topsoils, which make the land suitable for agricultural use; the other parts of the reclaimed land have been made into forests and wetlands in a way that is designed to reflect the pre-mining environment.
When the mine is fully out of service, the power lines, service roads, sedimentation ponds, ditches, and other mining infrastructure will be removed, and their lands reconverted to their original forms. After the seeded vegitation takes root and grows, the mining site will hopefully show little evidence of having hosted a mine.
- "Whitewood Mine" TransAlta Mine Page, accessed May 5, 2010.