In the early 1990s, local mining companies began to devise strategies to reclaim Sudbury's typical black rock landscape.
Vale discovered that aerial seeding was particularly effective to revegetate historically stressed land in remote areas of the Sudbury basin.
Eventually, their efforts developed into Vale's modern Aerial Seeding Program which will take place this year between Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, in Sudbury's east end in the community of Consiton.
Since 1990, the program has successfully treated more than 9,400 acres of barren, mine-impacted land. This year's treatment is expected to target 250 acres.
If the weather holds up, helicopters will take off from a private airstrip in Coniston and deposit loads of agricultural limestone, grass seed and fertilizer in the area.
The process is meant to neutralize the soil affected by sulphur and metal particulates deposited during early smelting and refining practices.
“While every effort will be made not to fly over nearby residential areas, local residents may notice low-flying helicopters,” said Vale in a Sept. 20 press release. “Residents are advised that this is part of Vale's normal land reclamation activities and the low flight paths are necessary for the work to be effective.”
The aerial seeding program is just one step in Vale's reclamation process. In the past, other crews have come in after the treatment to plant tree saplings.