Dust Management in the Elk Valley

We take extensive measures to monitor and manage dust at our operations and are working to identify new methods to improve dust management and air quality.

Air Quality and Dust Management

We understand that at times, fugitive dust generated from our operations is visible. Managing fugitive dust is a priority for Teck and we have a dedicated dust management team focused on minimizing dust year-round; this includes reducing dust and looking at innovative ways to improve both air quality and visibility across our operations.  

  • In 2021 we tested a new product that reduces dust, a dust suppressant called Novamen DCP-OB, on some road surfaces at Elkview Operations. Based on the positive performance of the product, we expanded the trial this year, including along the main access road for our operation. Trials to date have been successful in reducing dust and we anticipate using this product as a routine dust management tool at suitable locations.

  • In August 2022, we received approval to test four custom blend foaming products as dust suppressants. These products will be applied on pit highwalls and in-pit waste rock piles (“spoils”) during the trial. Highwalls and spoils have large surface areas that are difficult to reach with existing dust suppression tools (e.g., sprinklers, misters). If this trial is successful, we will explore the use of these products more widely, including testing a high-expansion foam generator to significantly improve product coverage in these hard-to-reach areas. These are custom products designed in collaboration with Elkview Operations, which if successful will be an industry first.

  • A new project will be completed at the Elkview Operations processing plant in Fall 2022 to reduce the dust concentration in the dryer exhaust stacks by installing spray nozzles upstream of the dryer scrubber. By injecting water and air into these spray nozzles, a fine mist is introduced and will increase the efficiency of the scrubber by targeting the smaller particles in the air stream. This year a field trial of an underbody dust suppression system on our drills is being conducted to determine whether this will reduce dust generated during drilling operations. If the initial trial is successful, work will continue to assess the feasibility of wider applications at Elkview Operations.

  • Elkview Operations continues to evaluate mine design to reduce dust. In 2022, we will be validating the wind modelling that was completed for the Baldy Ridge Extension Project. Results will support proactively planning for anticipated wind pattern changes as mine development occurs on Baldy Ridge.

  • We are using six water and two mister trucks to keep active roads and pit areas wet to minimize dust generation during dry conditions. These trucks use a new and safe additive that suppresses dust faster and for a longer period of time.

  • This summer we added three additional water trucks dedicated to the new Administrative and Maintenance Complex construction site located below the Bodie spoil, which is visible from Sparwood.

  • For trains, we continue to apply dust suppressant to all loaded rail cars prior to leaving Elkview Operations. This minimizes dust generation during transport.

  • Elkview hydroseeders are used to apply seed and mulch or dust suppressant during dry conditions to areas that are prone to dusting (e.g., Lagoon D, Clean Coal Stockpiles). 

  • Progressive reclamation work is conducted annually targeting disturbed areas that are either inactive or no longer needed for mining activity. Areas currently being reclaimed at Elkview Operations include sections of the Coarse Coal Refuse spoil, Bodie spoil and Baldy Ridge 6 in-pit spoil. Progressive reclamation helps to minimize fugitive dust generation and improve visual quality by establishing plants in areas of disturbance. 

The Envirosuite system is a critical dust management digital tool that informs our blasting practices and placement of water trucks, misters and dust suppressants. This system gathers real-time monitoring data through twenty dual dust and wind sensor monitors and one weather station, all strategically placed in and around our operating areas. 

By integrating Envirosuite with Teck’s existing ambient air monitoring stations, Elkview Operations is able to: 

  • Monitor weather conditions and particulate matter concentrations in and around the mine site in real-time. 

  • Optimize placement and application of dust control measures based on early warning dust concentrations or weather (e.g., wind speed and direction) triggers. 

  • Provide data to support dust and community feedback investigations, which we use to drive continuous improvement efforts on site. 

  • Use predictive modeling to inform decision making for blasting and dust mitigation measures.

  • Growing plants on inactive spoils, through seeding these areas with a helicopter, has been one of the most successful dust suppression pilot programs in recent years. The plants act as binders to reduce fugitive dust generation from wind blowing through these areas until reclamation is completed. Helicopter seeding and fertilizing was carried out in Spring 2022 with additional seeding and fertilizing is planned for this Fall. 

The Socio-Community and Economic Effects Advisory Committee (SCEEAC) is made up of representatives from Elkview Operations, the District of Sparwood and Sparwood residents. The SCEEAC provides feedback and recommendations to Teck for consideration with respect to implementing Elkview Operations’ Baldy Ridge Extension Environmental Assessment Certificate Condition 21.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the quarterly SCEEAC meetings. The schedule, agendas, and minutes can be viewed at www.sparwood.ca/livable. Additionally, residents may provide feedback to the SCEEAC via livable@sparwood.ca

  • In 2021 we tested a new product that reduces dust, a dust suppressant called Novamen DCP-OB, on some road surfaces at Elkview Operations. Based on the positive performance of the product, we expanded the trial this year, including along the main access road for our operation. Trials to date have been successful in reducing dust and we anticipate using this product as a routine dust management tool at suitable locations.

  • In August 2022, we received approval to test four custom blend foaming products as dust suppressants. These products will be applied on pit highwalls and in-pit waste rock piles (“spoils”) during the trial. Highwalls and spoils have large surface areas that are difficult to reach with existing dust suppression tools (e.g., sprinklers, misters). If this trial is successful, we will explore the use of these products more widely, including testing a high-expansion foam generator to significantly improve product coverage in these hard-to-reach areas. These are custom products designed in collaboration with Elkview Operations, which if successful will be an industry first.

  • A new project will be completed at the Elkview Operations processing plant in Fall 2022 to reduce the dust concentration in the dryer exhaust stacks by installing spray nozzles upstream of the dryer scrubber. By injecting water and air into these spray nozzles, a fine mist is introduced and will increase the efficiency of the scrubber by targeting the smaller particles in the air stream. This year a field trial of an underbody dust suppression system on our drills is being conducted to determine whether this will reduce dust generated during drilling operations. If the initial trial is successful, work will continue to assess the feasibility of wider applications at Elkview Operations.

  • Elkview Operations continues to evaluate mine design to reduce dust. In 2022, we will be validating the wind modelling that was completed for the Baldy Ridge Extension Project. Results will support proactively planning for anticipated wind pattern changes as mine development occurs on Baldy Ridge.

  • We are using six water and two mister trucks to keep active roads and pit areas wet to minimize dust generation during dry conditions. These trucks use a new and safe additive that suppresses dust faster and for a longer period of time.

  • This summer we added three additional water trucks dedicated to the new Administrative and Maintenance Complex construction site located below the Bodie spoil, which is visible from Sparwood.

  • For trains, we continue to apply dust suppressant to all loaded rail cars prior to leaving Elkview Operations. This minimizes dust generation during transport.

  • Elkview hydroseeders are used to apply seed and mulch or dust suppressant during dry conditions to areas that are prone to dusting (e.g., Lagoon D, Clean Coal Stockpiles). 

  • Progressive reclamation work is conducted annually targeting disturbed areas that are either inactive or no longer needed for mining activity. Areas currently being reclaimed at Elkview Operations include sections of the Coarse Coal Refuse spoil, Bodie spoil and Baldy Ridge 6 in-pit spoil. Progressive reclamation helps to minimize fugitive dust generation and improve visual quality by establishing plants in areas of disturbance. 

The Envirosuite system is a critical dust management digital tool that informs our blasting practices and placement of water trucks, misters and dust suppressants. This system gathers real-time monitoring data through twenty dual dust and wind sensor monitors and one weather station, all strategically placed in and around our operating areas. 

By integrating Envirosuite with Teck’s existing ambient air monitoring stations, Elkview Operations is able to: 

  • Monitor weather conditions and particulate matter concentrations in and around the mine site in real-time. 

  • Optimize placement and application of dust control measures based on early warning dust concentrations or weather (e.g., wind speed and direction) triggers. 

  • Provide data to support dust and community feedback investigations, which we use to drive continuous improvement efforts on site. 

  • Use predictive modeling to inform decision making for blasting and dust mitigation measures.

  • Growing plants on inactive spoils, through seeding these areas with a helicopter, has been one of the most successful dust suppression pilot programs in recent years. The plants act as binders to reduce fugitive dust generation from wind blowing through these areas until reclamation is completed. Helicopter seeding and fertilizing was carried out in Spring 2022 with additional seeding and fertilizing is planned for this Fall. 

The Socio-Community and Economic Effects Advisory Committee (SCEEAC) is made up of representatives from Elkview Operations, the District of Sparwood and Sparwood residents. The SCEEAC provides feedback and recommendations to Teck for consideration with respect to implementing Elkview Operations’ Baldy Ridge Extension Environmental Assessment Certificate Condition 21.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the quarterly SCEEAC meetings. The schedule, agendas, and minutes can be viewed at www.sparwood.ca/livable. Additionally, residents may provide feedback to the SCEEAC via livable@sparwood.ca

Elk Valley Dust Monitoring Stations

Fine Particulate Classification

PM2.5: a particulate 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter.
The provincial government’s objective is 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM10: a particulate 10 microns or smaller in diameter.
The provincial government’s daily objective is 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

TSP: the overall Total Suspended Particles.
The provincial government’s daily objective is 120 micrograms per cubic meter.

District of Sparwood Live Camera Feed

Watch a real-time view of Elkview operations.

Elk Valley Operations Blasting Schedule

Teck may conduct daily blasting at our operations. We monitor wind direction and plan our blasts for when favourable weather conditions exist. 

Elkview Operations blasts are scheduled between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. There are minimal instances of blasting outside of this timeslot. 

Greenhills Operations blasts are scheduled between 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. There are minimal instances of blasting outside of this timeslot. 

Line Creek Operations blasts are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. There are minimal instances of blasting outside of this timeslot. 

Fording River Operations blasts are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. but blasting times can vary between 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 

Fording River Operations may blast more than once per day. 

Coal Mountain Operations has ceased blasting as the site prepares to transition to care and maintenance