SUMMARY/REPORT OF THE AWARDS SUBCOMMITTEE
2005 Presentation of the 2004 Mine Reclamation Awards & Dr. John Errington Roast
2005 Mine Reclamation Awards Presented at the 29th Annual Mine Reclamation Symposium
September 19 to 22nd, 2005, Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Twenty-nine years ago, the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation established a Reclamation Award to recognize outstanding achievement in mine reclamation in British Columbia. In addition to this major award, citations are given to recognize merit in mining reclamation.
The work on which the awards are based may be major or minor in extent, and may be the result of a group or a single person’s activities. These awards may recognize:
LAST YEAR’S WINNER
It is an annual tradition to present a “keeper trophy” to the previous year’s recipient of the British Columbia Mine Reclamation Award, for the safe return of the highly prized “jade trophy”. The 2004 winner of the Award was Bullmoose Operating Corporation for its work at the Bullmoose Mine.
2005 METAL MINING CITATION
The Citation for outstanding achievement for reclamation at a Metal Mine was awarded to Teck Cominco Limited and the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management for the Muskwa Kechika Joint Project.
The Muskwa Kechika Joint Project involved the further reclamation of the Churchill Copper Mine and the Wokkpash Corridor Access Route.
The Churchill Copper Mine is located in the very remote Muskwa Ranges of the Northern Rocky Mountains, approximately 270 kilometers east of Dease Lake and 540 kilometers northeast of Prince George. The minesite now falls within the Muskwa Kechika Management Area. The Churchill Copper Mine operated in the 60’s and intermittently in the 70’s and was later acquired by TeckCominco through the purchase of another company. The mine included a millsite and several tailings pond located on the banks of the Racing River.
Previously, Teck Cominco had reclaimed the mine to the standards of the day and in the late 1980’s, their bond was returned and the permit closed. The Government retained responsibility for the Wokkpash Corridor Access road as it was left it in place to facilitate future development in the area. However, over time the Racing River continued to erode the tailings, re-distributing garbage buried within them. The mine openings, road and bridges became a safety hazard. The site did not meet the standards of this special management area.
After preliminary discussions with government, Teck Cominco Limited approached the Muskwa Kechika Advisory Board with an unsolicited proposal to jointly finance the reclamation work. Since the BC government had responsibility for the road, a 50/50 cost sharing agreement was established, with Teck Cominco conducting the work under contract to the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. Several other Provincial and Federal agencies also played an important role in the project by providing regulatory approvals.
The program, conducted over 57 days during the summer of 2004, included relocating the Racing River landfill to the mill building area, moving most of the remaining tailings from the North Tailings Pond to above the river flood plain, and covering, seeding and fertilizing of the mill site and mine boneyard areas. The approach to the grizzly ore dump was excavated and four adits were in-filled for public safety. Bridges were dismantled and piers removed at the Racing River, Wokkpash Creek and MacDonald Creek crossings. All of the steel was buried and the approaches were recontoured and seeded. The Wokkpash Area Access road was also narrowed in several locations to allow access for ATV’s only, consistent with the requirements of the management area.
The Muskwa Kechika Joint Project is a testament to the great things that can happen when people work together. This innovative partnership led to significant improvements to the area. Many people in the agencies involved contributed to the success of the project. A special mention was made for the hard work and stalwart efforts of Garry Davies. Teck Cominco, has demonstrated leadership in the mining industry and exemplary stewardship through their reclamation efforts.
2005 COAL MINING CITATION
The Citation for outstanding achievement for reclamation at a coal mine was awarded to Elk Valley Coal Corporation for its work at Fording River Operations.
Fording River Operations has conducted a very well founded reclamation program that dates back several decades. Research into the establishment of productive forests on the waste rock dumps has been ongoing since the early days of mining. Today stands of established forest serve as excellent cover for elk and will also provide an effective forest cover into the future.
Fording River Operations has placed an important priority on the re-establishment of fish and wildlife habitat. From the creation of a ground water channel in an old gravel extraction area to the development of shrub species on the steep slopes of the proposed winter ranges, the wildlife reclamation work at the mine shows an important understanding of key ecological elements and a dedication to detail. The Fording River mine currently supports a diversity of wildlife including elk, bears, sheep and a host of other species.
The greenhouse and woody species production facilities provide planting stock for the Fording River Operations as well as the other Elk Valley Coal operations. A diversity of woody species is being produced at the mine that will lead to the re-establishment of productive ecosystems in the years ahead. Stands of grasses and legumes currently provide nutritious forage for the large number of ungulates on the property.
Resloping of waste rock dumps continues to be the major challenge at the Fording River Operations. Although legacies from earlier mining continue to present a challenge, innovative waste placement methods help to reduce the costs associated with this activity. Elk Valley Coal Corp. continues to demonstrate its long-term commitment to successful reclamation at Fording River.
2005 MINERAL EXPLORATION CITATION
The Citation for outstanding achievement for reclamation at a mineral exploration site was awarded to Noranda Inc. for their work on the Kerr-Sulphurets property.
The Kerr-Sulphurets property is a very remote, high alpine property, nestled amongst the glaciers, 65 kilometers northwest of Stewart. Noranda recently acquired the property and moved swiftly to clean up the extensive Kerr drilling sites and access trails that resulted from exploration by many companies over the years.
The site posed significant challenges and expense due to its remote location. All of the reclamation work had to be helicopter supported; this included the breakdown and transport of major equipment to complete the work. Virtually all of the roads and trails were reclaimed including some which were very difficult to access. Significant erosion problems were remedied and the recontouring work in the alpine is considered exceptional. Large amounts of wire, steel, barrels and other scrap were also removed from the site. There are now no major outstanding liabilities associated with this site.
Noranda Inc. and its contractors demonstrated an environmentally responsible attitude in doing the work, and not only met, but exceeded, the requirements of the Health Safety and Reclamation Code on the Kerr-Sulphurets property.
2005 QUARRY CITATION
It has been many years since a citation has been awarded for quarry reclamation. The recipient of the 2005 Quarry Citation for Reclamation was Monteith Bay Resources Ltd. for its fine reclamation efforts at the Monteith Bay Quarry.
The Monteith Bay Quarry is located at tide line in the remote rain forests of northwest Vancouver Island, approximately 150 kilometers west of Campbell River. The quarry is accessible only by water and is operated on a seasonal basis due to extreme marine weather conditions. The product mined from the quarry is geyserite, an altered volcanic rock that is used as a source of silica in the manufacture of cement.
Despite the small size of the quarry, at less than 3 hectares, it presented a significant environmental issue. In 2002, acid rock drainage was discovered at the site and it was negatively affecting a nearby salt water marshland. Monteith Bay took immediate investigation and remedial action. The source of the ARD was determined to be mineralized dykes and the geyserite rock itself.
Monteith Bay Resources began a program of strict sulphur grade control to avoid high sulphur areas. They separated existing waste rock into coarse and fine fractions and slowly began removing much of the coarse waste by blending it with product. The fine waste fraction was mixed with an imported lime paste product and compacted into sloped piles that shed water and are largely impermeable. Growth medium was also imported to the site and areas were seeded with a grass mixture.
Spilled geyserite was pulled back from sensitive areas. Compacted limestone was placed as a working surface and as series of compacted limestone cut-off trenches to intercept acidic seepages that were migrating to the ocean perimeter.
The quarry drainage is funnelled to limestone lined ditches and a series of settling ponds which adjust the pH prior to discharge. Treatment sludge from the ponds is also blended into the geyserite product and removed from the site. The quarry currently meets the established discharge objectives for the site and seepage water quality has significantly improved. Real time reporting using satellite technology allows the site to be monitored remotely and adaptively managed.
Monteith Bay Resources Ltd. was commended for its response to dealing with challenges at this site and was acknowledged for the significant improvements to reclamation and environmental quality. The efforts of Greg Carriere to the reclamation improvements of the site were especially noted.
ANNUAL BC JAKE MCDONALD MINE RECLAMATION AWARD
The recipient of the 2005 British Columbia Jake McDonald Mine Reclamation award was North American Metals Corp. for their outstanding reclamation achievements at the Golden Bear Mine.
The Golden Bear Mine is located in remote, steep, mountainous terrain, 240 kilometres west of Dease Lake. This gold mine operated between 1990 and 2002 as an underground and open pit gold mining operation, using both conventional milling and heap leaching technologies.
Virtually all of the major reclamation requirements for the minesite were completed in 2004. Some of the recent highlights of the program include completion of the tailings impoundment soil cover, construction of an engineered spillway, removal of the Totem Heap Leach facility, removal of the Fleece Bowl dam and reclamation of the water storage area. Reclamation of more than 50 hectares of road disturbance is also largely complete. As well, all waste rock dumps have been resloped and all of the minesite infrastructure has been removed.
Re-vegetation will not occur in some of the very high elevation areas, but recontoured piles will increasingly blend-in with the surroundings. Lower elevation regions have been seeded and planted with native species and are expected to do well over time. A program to monitor the site for revegetation success and water quality, which continues to meet government permit requirements, is in place.
North American Metals Corp. has done an excellent reclamation job in this very remote and expensive area to work. The company and its contractors were commended for their strong commitment to reclamation and environmental responsibility. The hard work and efforts of Mine Manager Rino Mihoc warranted a special mention.
DR. JOHN ERRINGTON’S ROAST
After 28 years with the Ministry of Energy and Mines, John Errington received a roasting by his reclamation counterparts at the TRCR Banquet. Murray Galbraith, a retired employee of the Ministry of Mines was Master of Ceremonies and speeches were given by Bill Price, Natural Resources Canada, Kim Bellefontaine, Ministry of Mines, Fred Hermann, Chief Inspector of Mines, Carol Jones, CE Jones Consulting, Bob Patterson, Gibraltar Mines, Ray Crook, (retired) Environment Assessment Office, Bob Hart, Environment Assessment Office, Carol Howell, Art O’Bryan (retired) Ministry of Mines and others.
Bill roasted philosophically on John’s tenure at the Ministry, highlighting his wardrobe, power lifting abilities (10 volume EA’s moved from his desk to another) and frequent sightings of John in the field in the summer (same frequency as sightings of the spotted owl). However, there was one pleasant comment in Bill’s address:
“Although there have been some changes in recent years, John leaves the Ministry of Mines with BC the world leader in many aspects of mine reclamation and regulation. This was produced in part by John’s keen understanding of when best to use the carrot versus the stick, his preference for constructive dialogue and his willingness to put cost-effective, environmentally sound resource management ahead of personal promotion. And perhaps most notably for a career bureaucrat, this was all done with a minimum of meetings and paper work.”
Every Slope Is Sacred – John’s Swan Song
There are jewels in the world, there is gold,
there is copper and coal
and then there are those that will mine anything -but- he’s never been one of them.
John’s a public servant
and has been since before he was born,
and the one thing they say about government is they’ll take you as soon as you’re warm.
You don’t have to be a six-footer.
You don’t have to have a great brain.
You don’t have to have any clothes on,
you’re a servant the moment dad came
Every slope is sacred,
every slope is great,
If a slope is not resloped,
John gets quite irate.
Let the heathen spill theirs,
on the dusty ground.
John shall make them pay for
each slope that is abandoned.
Every slope is wanted,
every slope is good.
Every slope is needed,
in your neighbourhood.
Some miners of earth and rock,
spill theirs just about anywhere
but John loves those who treat their
mines with more care.
Every slope is sacred,
every slope is great,
If a slope is wasted,
John gets quite irate.
Good night John and Thank You.
(words by Brenda Dixon, Barb Riordan and Kim Bellafontaine)
2006 TRCR Members
The B.C. Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation is comprised of representatives from the mining industry, the academic field and Provincial and Federal Governments.