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Compost, renewable gas facility proposed for former Brenda Mines site

The goal is to remediate and reclaim the land disturbed by the old mine
Brenda Renewables proposed a composting and renewable gas facility at the site of the former Brenda Mines. (Brenda Renewables)

The site of the former Brenda Mines could open again soon and be home to a natural gas and high-nutrient compost facility.

Glencore and Brenda Renewables have partnered to reopen the site and turn it into a facility that can process local municipal organic waste, yard waste, as well as biosolids and turn it into renewable natural gas and high-nutrient compost.

Brenda Mines was an open-pit operation until it was closed down in 1990. For the last three years, Brenda Renewables and Glencore have been working on developing the project and creating “co-purposes” for the site while bringing some benefits to the local communities.

In a presentation to council, Glencore project manager Mark Tenbrink said the system is designed so there won’t be odour, noise or liquid discharge from the site.

“The process will be a service to local municipalities taking in organic waste,” he said.

“While biosolids will be received, they’re received as an input to the composting operation. There is no direct land application of biosolids.”

Tenbrink said the goal of the site is to accelerate revegetation and reclamation of the site previously disturbed by the mine.

“The site closed some time ago and we’ve done a number of revegetation efforts. It’s working, but it’s quite slow,” he said.

“We think this will accelerate it and that’s our primary goal, but it has other benefits and goals too.

“It’s a project that has a long life and should have benefits not just to the site, but to the community and the environment as well.”

Some of those benefits include recycled energy, diversion from landfills, and renewable natural gas.

Rolfe Phillip with Brenda Renewables said at present, there’s already a lot of regional district and local government initiatives to divert waste away from landfills, and the facility will only help that.

“I know some of the biosolids that you’re producing at Westbank, right now those are being trucked to Alberta,” he said.

“Very inefficient, high cost, environmentally not very sound practice to have to truck biosolids out of your region all the way to Alberta for disposal.”

If all goes according to plan, the facility will start construction in 2022. Phillip said construction of the initial facility will take six months, then they will operate it for a year to get reliable results of the effects of the compost products in the plots in the area.

Phillip added that they’re hoping to have five to six permanent jobs opened at the site.

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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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