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More Info on Coal

At the end of a mining project's life, the company that owns the coal mine must remove all infrastructure, abandoning the site, and returning the land to an equivalent capability compared to its pre-development state.

We work with the Government of Alberta to ensure that Albertans are protected from paying mine closure costs. Learn more on our Mine Financial Security Program page.

Under an EPEA approval, companies must prepare for reclamation throughout the life cycle of a coal mine. Companies must submit several plans and reports to guide progressive reclamation throughout the life of a mine. Depending on the type of mine and stage of development, our requirements could include

  • mine reclamation plan,
  • reclamation monitoring, and
  • annual conservation and reclamation report.

The Mine Financial Security Program manages liabilities associated with the costs of reclaiming coal mines and coal processing plants.

Obtaining a Reclamation Certificate

When all of our requirements have been met, including achieving the approved reclamation outcome, the company can apply for a reclamation certificate. Learn what this certificate means on our Reclamation page.

Before applying for a reclamation certificate for a coal mine or coal processing plant, companies should review our Checklist for Preparing a Complete Reclamation Certificate Application for EPEA-Approved Activities and our list of frequently asked questions for more information.

Learn more about application process in Manual 020: Coal Development.

Companies with approved coal exploration operations can operate for a maximum of five years—two years for operations and three years for reclamation. We encourage companies to complete reclamation within one year of the surface disturbance.

If a company is unsuccessful in reclaiming a site within five years, it can submit a miscellaneous lease application to us for environmental monitoring reclamation research to remove unsuccessfully reclaimed areas from the program. The company may then apply for a reclamation certificate for the reclaimed area.

Companies reclaiming coal exploration programs must also follow the requirements listed in the Code of Practice for Exploration Operations.

Companies have two full growing seasons to complete reclamation and three full growing seasons to apply for a reclamation certificate. More information and a list of requirements are provided in Coal and Oil Sands Exploration Reclamation Requirements from Alberta Environment and Parks.

Annual Reports

Companies are required to submit reports as per the conditions of their approval(s) and of the legislative requirements associated with those approval(s). The AER requires companies to submit reports throughout the entire life cycle of developments and requirements vary based on the phase of the project. The frequency for submitting reports is typically on annual or semi-annual basis. Failure to do so may lead to compliance and enforcement action.