The BIOSALIX program is an innovative mine reclamation and wood biomass production process that will be undertaken at Westmoreland Coal Company’s Paintearth Mine near Forestburg, Alberta. BIOSALIX addresses two unique challenges in Alberta: the accelerated closure of prairie coal mines and an increased demand for management of organic residuals. Municipal biosolids and other organic residuals will be utilized as both amendments to existing topsoil and feedstocks in topsoil fabrication with the goal of establishing highly productive fast-growing willow wood biomass crops on the reclaimed mine land. The woody biomass can then be used as a feedstock in clean energy, reclamation or bioproduct development. Project partners include EPCOR Water Services Inc., Westmoreland Coal Company, Alberta Innovates, Bionera Resources, and Natural Resources Canada-Canadian Forest Service.

The BIOSALIX team sees this as an opportunity to not only meet federal and provincial carbon strategy policy targets, but also provide sustainable management of municipal biosolids, while offering the prospect of small community transition and growth from a mining hub to a clean technology industry. This program encompasses the true meaning of clean growth – the combination of technology and process to drive technical, carbon and social benefit that has the capacity to support the traditional fossil fuel economy and provide new opportunity in coal mining communities.