The Cumberland Energy Authority, a division of the Municipality of Cumberland County, issued a request for proposals [RFP] March 13th seeking tenders to review a spatial analysis of the mines flooded with water beneath Springhill and introduce a number of deep-well test boreholes.
Brian Herteis, Public Engineer and Capital Projects Engineer for the municipality, explains the RFP was originally called for in September, but delayed the project after an opportunity to have the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency become a partner. Herteis, a former mine-engineer, worked several years alongside the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources to geo-reference the mine workings. The RFP will serve to corroborate those findings.
“The first part of the RFP, we’re looking for a third-party to review things,” Herteis said. “Then we are looking for two or three boreholes. Not significantly deeper, but 500 or 600 feet down. Currently the deepest is about 130 meters.”
The new boreholes will serve to monitor water temperatures, water quality and potentially more information on how water flows inside the mines. Long-term, those boreholes could eventually become future send and return wells as the municipality develops the geothermal resource further.
After the mines were abandoned in the late 1950s following a mining disaster that claimed 75 lives ground water flooded the mineshafts. At their deepest, the mines are 1,320 metres beneath the surface.
In the late 1980s to early 1990s the value of that mine water as a geothermal heat source started to take hold. More recently the geothermal potential of the mines has been used to heat the community centre and aid in ice making during the winter season. To date, only the upper portions of the mine workings have been used for geothermal energy.
Submission to the RFP will close March 29th.