Coal Mine Tailings Pond (EN578-170003/23)

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Tender Notice


Publishing status


Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2019/02/19 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)


Reference number
Solicitation number
Region of opportunity
Region of delivery
Notice type
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Trade agreement
  • None
Tendering procedure
Solely Canadian content
Procurement entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
End user entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada

Contact Information

Contact name
Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
Contact email
Contact address
10 Wellington
Gatineau  QC
K1A 0S5

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January 28, 2019

The attachments #2 & #3 have been added in order to address the information requested in questions #1, 4 & 7.


January 14, 2019

The closing date for this challenge has been extended to February 19th, 2019 at 14:00 EST.


January 7, 2019

Attachment 1 contains questions and answers related to the challenge.


This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C).

Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

Steps to apply:

Step 1: read this challenge

Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

Step 3: propose your solution

Challenge Title: Coal Mine Tailings Pond

Sponsoring Department: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Funding Mechanism: Contract


Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

TRAVEL:  For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:

Kick-off meeting

Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Final Review Meeting

Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Problem Summary Statement

The challenge is to develop a cost effective & innovative method of stabilizing the coal mine tailings currently under sub-aqueous containment behind the Victoria Junction Tailings Dam so that the Dam can be decommissioned.

Problem Statement

During the processing of coal from the former Devco Mines, tailings (fine ground rock particles separated from the coal) were produced as a waste product. Fine tailings (approximately 1,000,000m3) were disposed sub-aqueously behind a purpose built dam in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Dams are a high maintenance structure and entail significant liability. Unless an alternative method of containment/stabilization is utilized the dam will be required for the foreseeable future.

Desired outcomes and Considerations

An acceptable end state is one by which the tailings are stable chemically and physically such that they are protected to prevent erosion due to wind/water exposure, and stable in terms of oxidation and production of acid rock drainage.

Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes

Proposed solutions must:

  1. allow stabilization/containment of the tailings and removal of the dam at a lower cost and environmental impact than traditional soil cover (bidders are encouraged to provide the estimated cost for the final solution)
  2. prevent or minimize a requirement to treat water during implementation and ensure there is no requirement for treatment after implementation.
  3. ensure there is no increase in ground water and surface impacts after implementation in comparison to current state conditions.
  4. minimize ongoing monitoring and maintenance activities. Current monitoring and Maintenance activities are dictated by Canada Dam Safety Guidelines based on a dam rating of high risk.

Additional Outcomes

Proposed solutions should:

  1. Provide additional remediation opportunities to other Government of Canada contaminated sites.

Background and Context

The VJ Tailings Dam has been in place since the 1980's. The facility is in a state of monitoring and maintenance but as a dam it is inherently risky. The dam is managed in accordance with the Canada Dam Safety Guidelines. It is currently stable but under the current closure strategy it is required to maintain the water cover for generations to come and is subject to land use restrictions, climate change considerations and ongoing maintenance. If a feasible, reliable and economical opportunity exists to stabilize the material without the requirement of water cover or water treatment it would be in the best interest of GOC to decommission the dam.

The current liability cost estimate is for the 40 year period. PSPC has just reinvested to replace the toe drain and reinforce the dam within the last 8 years. A similar level of reinvestment would likely be required in 40 years. Decommissioning would allow PSPC to avoid the majority of the monitoring and maintenance cost as well as the reinvestment. The operations completed in the 1990's and the Dam has been maintained since closure to maintain the water cover over the tailings and prevent oxidation and the creation of acid rock drainage.

PSPC has engaged a consultant to update the dam safety review. Construction drawings, past dam safety reviews, water quality and aerial photos are all available to proponents. Current Class D estimate of traditional soil cover is being developed and will be provided to any proponents.

The back-up drinking water supply for the town of New Waterford is nearby and downstream of the tailings dam. Removal of the tailings Dam would ease concerns regarding the back-up drinking water supply for the town of New Waterford by removing hydraulic gradients from the waste material. The current management of the waste requires limited land use over a wide expanse of property. Removal of the dam would allow for fewer land use limitations and the opportunity for the GOC to dispose of some of the land holding currently required because of the dam. Removal of the dam also reduces any perceived risk to down stream properties that may currently hinder development.


All enquiries must be submitted in writing to no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

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If you have questions specific to this procurement, please contact the Contracting Authority (see the "Contact Information" section above).

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FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique Download Event (English page)Date added
attachment_1_-_question_and_answer_1-_7_-_en578-170003_23.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2019-01-08
piece_jointe_1-_questions_et_reponses_1-7_-_en578-170003_23.pdfNot availableFrench- 2019-01-08
attachment_2_-_english_-_adi_-_2010_-_dam_safety_review.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2019-01-28
attachment_3_-_english_-_jwa_1993a_-_proposed_close-out_vjtb.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2019-01-28
piece_jointe_2_-_version_franccaise_-_2010_-_examen_de_la_securite_du_barrage.pdfNot availableFrench- 2019-01-28
piece_jointe_3_-_version_francaise_-_jwel_1993a_-_proposition_de_cloture.pdfNot availableFrench- 2019-01-28