The Picadilly mine site near Sussex , New Brunswick, that suspended operations over a year ago could soon become a new source of energy and economic growth for the area.
As part of the Greater Sussex Hampton Region Economic Response Plan released earlier this month, geothermal energy development at the site is one of several priorities for economic growth in the area.
According to the Response Plan, the mine’s infrastructure could be repurposed to provide geothermal-based heating and/or cooling for high-demand application at a lower cost compared to other sources. Bill Thompson, economic development coordinator for the Town of Sussex says PotashCorp is on board with exploring this possibility.
“There is a great big cavern down there that’s 7 km long and it’s filling with water at the rate of about 1,400 gallons a minute. Potash[Corp] has been pumping that water out and either trucking to it Saint John or piping it out towards the Bay of Fundy,” Thompson says. “Now that they have gone through an [Environmental Impact Assessment] with the province, they no longer have to pump it out. It’s filling, so we’re looking at what that reservoir has to offer from a heat perspective.”