April 7, 2022
When Englobe was commissioned to rehabilitate and revitalize a 2 km2 open pit asbestos mine in Val-des-Sources, we seized the opportunity. Our revegetation experts went to work developing custom solutions.
After a solid nineteen-year effort, our dedication has paid off - literally. The transformation in flora and fauna is truly astonishing. We’ve even introduced bees to support pollination, a measure we plan to maintain.
“The mine site looked like the surface of the moon. Today, we’ve turned it into a vast meadow, and insects, reptiles, and birds have returned!”
- Olivier Sylvestre, Regional Manager, Eastern Townships Soil and Biomass Treatment Centre
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Projects like the Jeffery Mine pose many challenges. For instance, Englobe had to reimagine a way to grow plants in sterile soil which normally could not sustain plant life.
Our guiding principle was to use recycled materials to create a fertile growing environment. Our team successfully reconstituted soil from fertilizing residual materials (FRMs) and inert mine tailings. This new substrate was spread over the mine’s surfaces and subsequently seeded and reforested.
A circular economy for sustainable development
Our team of experts devised a synergistic, circular flow between the Eastern Townships sites where the residual materials originate, in order to address various needs and eliminate waste. For example, a local pulp and paper mill produces a rich organic fertilizer that’s prized by growers. Any materials not used in agriculture are mixed with regional biosolids, creating a substrate that’s perfect for mine surfaces. Since the Jeffrey Mine project began, we’ve reclaimed several hundred thousand tons of FRM and revegetated 250 hectares of sterile mine soil.
Onward and upward!
Radical caring is one of our core values - and the Jeffrey Mine is a prime example. Thanks to this revegetation effort, the region can now repurpose this legendary location.
Today, Englobe proudly sponsors a number of local events, including one of the region’s premier festivals, Slackfest, which attracts slackliners from far and wide. Event activities include a highline demonstration, where thrill-seekers cross a Guinness World Record-setting, two-kilometre slackline suspended across the mine pit.
Given the success of this project, Val-des-Sources wished to extend its partnership with Englobe. As a result, we’ll work with local residents to boost economic development in the region. As part of this partnership, we’ve completed development of a bicycle path, a central plaza, a public market, and evocative facilities. Work is also under way to process leftover asbestos chunks into magnesium.
“It’s a true circle of support. Every visitor to the site is astonished by the results. I’m so proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish using biomass.” - Olivier Sylvestre
By expanding our areas of expertise over the years, we’re better able to serve a diverse roster of clients today. The Jeffrey Mine project was a huge source of inspiration for us. It’s one of the hundreds of initiatives we’re tackling worldwide, which we conduct with a single purpose: daring to have a tangible impact on our communities.
This article was originally published on Les Affaires.