Financial security for land reclamation

Operators must set aside funds to ensure developed sites are reclaimed to a useful and productive state when operations are completed.

Financial security

Operators are responsible for removal of all infrastructure, remediation and reclamation of a developed site following operations.

These operators include:

  • Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approval holders
  • EPEA registration holders
  • Public Lands Act (PLA) disposition holders
  • PLA authorization holders
  • PLA permit holders

These operators need to set aside funds to ensure reclamation after operations have been completed. These funds are known as financial security.

Financial security is collected from the following operations in Alberta:

  • coal and oil-sands mining
  • hazardous waste and recyclable projects
  • landfills
  • metal production plants
  • quarry activities
  • sand and gravel operations
  • waste management facilities

Financial security isn’t required from the following operations:

  • pipelines
  • transmission lines
  • well sites


The information below is provided to understand more about financial security.

The amount

The director determines the amount of financial security required by an operator.

It must be sufficient to ensure completion of conservation and reclamation if the operator cannot do so.


Financial security can be submitted in:

  • cash
  • letters of credit

It is paid into the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund. This was formerly the Surface Reclamation Fund.

The Minister of Environment and Protected Areas holds and administers this fund.

Returning the funds

Operators receive their financial security back when the site is remediated and reclaimed, meeting legislative requirements.

If only a portion of a site is reclaimed, a corresponding portion of financial security can be returned.

Failure to reclaim

Sometimes an operator will fail to meet reclamation obligations. If this happens, financial security may be forfeited. Those funds will be used to reclaim the site.

The funds may still not be enough to cover the reclamation cost. The government will then complete the work and collect additional money from the operator.

Project types

There are different financial-security requirements for different operations. Read the information in the following links for more details.

Oil-sands mines and coal mines

Financial security for these is regulated through the: Mine Financial Security Program (MFSP).

Landfills, waste management facilities, hazardous waste and recyclable projects

Financial security for all of these projects is regulated through the Waste Control Regulation. Find out more at: Financial Security.

Sand and gravel and quarry activities

Financial security for these operations on private land is regulated through: Code of Practice for Pits.

More information

Find out more about financial security in the following: