Reclamation change at Falkirk mine | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Reclamation change at Falkirk mine

Dec 11, 2018

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (I); chairman Randy Christmann; and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

There’s been a change in reclamation plans for a portion of the Falkirk Mine.

It involves 387 acres of land. Falkirk ended mining on that acreage in 1994. A portion of the area was developed as a “fly-ash” disposal facility, to be used by Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station power plant. Another part of the land would have been developed as fish and wildlife habitat, as a buffer between the fly ash pit and farmland.

But something changed.

"GRE subsequently developed a commercial market for their fly ash, as a cement additive," said Public Service Commission chairman Randy Christmann. "That negated the need for fly ash disposal."

Christmann said the reclamation plan will be changed to make the whole parcel cropland. He called Great River Energy an innovator.

"They have created a market for fly ash, which is now keeping building costs in the region lower," Christmann said. "That fly ash replaces a good part of what would have been Portland Cement."

And Christmann said the "bottom ash" can be used to treat icy roads, because it's inert.

Falkirk is planning to restart mining on that land in 2031.