The BC TRCR Committee is pleased to announce that the action-packed hybrid virtual and in-person Symposium in Prince George, BC from September 18 to 21st, 2023 was a great success.

A press release: 2023 TRCR Press Release, announces the winners of the Mine Reclamation Awards, Jake McDonald Memorial Scholarships and Poster session and the Tony Milligan Award for Best Paper.

2023 Reclamation Award Winners:

Imperial Metals – Mount Polley Mine and Habitat Remediation Working Group are the recipients of the Jake McDonald Annual Mine Reclamation Award for the remediation of Hazeltine and Edney creeks following the breach of the Mount Polley Mine tailings storage facility in 2014. Since then, restoration of nearly nine kilometres of Hazeltine Creek and the lower 500 metres of Edney Creek has been completed. Restoration works included the installation of trout and salmon habitat, and the creeks have now been re-opened to the fish. In addition, the affected Quesnel Lake shoreline has been cleaned up, revegetated, and salmon spawning gravel has been installed.  Extensive revegetation of forested and riparian areas involved the planting of more than 800,000 native trees and shrubs. Success of this restoration work has been demonstrated by the return of Coho salmon and other fish species to Edney Creek, the spawning of Rainbow trout in upper Hazeltine Creek since 2018 and the observation of sockeye salmon spawners in lower Hazeltine Creek in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The Habitat Remediation Working Group is a collaborative partnership with participation from Imperial Metals Corporation’s Mount Polley Mine employees and their consultants, including WSP Consulting Group; representatives of the T’exelcemc (Williams Lake First Nation) and Xatśūll First Nation, and their consultants, including Marc Gaboury; plus, government representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Government of BC.

L-R: Tim Antill, EMLI, Don Parsons, Imperial Metals and Gabe Holmes, Mt. Polley Mine

The keeper award for the safe return of the 2022 Jade award was presented to Seabridge Gold Inc. for its work at the past-producing Johnny Mountain mine.

L-R: Steve O’Hara, Gibraltar Mine, Elizabeth Miller, Seabridge Gold and Tim Antill, EMLI

Centerra Gold – Mount Milligan Mine and Chu Cho Environmental received the Metal Mining Category Award for ongoing progressive reclamation at the Mount Milligan Mine, located 155 kilometres northwest of Prince George. The approach focused on the collection of native seed, propagation of native plants using a local nursery, and collaboration with a team of Northern BC-based companies, educational institutions, and professionals. The incorporation of local Indigenous cultural values has helped to identify target species for use in reclamation.

L-R: Steve O’Hara Gibraltar Mine, Sean Rapai, Chu Cho Environmental , Louella Ramirez, Centerra Gold, Wesley Chingee, Centerra Gold, Vincent Chingee. Centerra Gold) and Tim Antill, EMLI

Teck Resources Limited is the recipient of the Coal Mining Category Award for its use of uphill contouring to re-slope rock spoils at the Coal Mountain Mine near Sparwood; benefits included geotechnical stability of waste spoils without impacting undisturbed or reclaimed downslope areas.

L-R: Tim Antill, EMLI and Scott Holmgren, Teck Resources

Orca Sand and Gravel received the Sand and Gravel Category Award for its ongoing progressive reclamation efforts at the Orca Quarry near Port McNeill as demonstrated by the reclamation of a sediment storage facility and its engagement with the Kwakiutl First Nation and ‘Namgis First Nation to adapt planting prescriptions based on feedback from community members.

Representatives of Orca Sand and Gravel were not in attendance so the certificate will be mailed directly.

Jake McDonald Memorial Scholarships and Judged Student Poster Session

The TRCR is also pleased to announce its 2023 Jake McDonald Memorial Scholarship recipients. Scholarships were awarded to Lori Clyde who is a fourth-year student in the Natural Resource Science program at Thompson Rivers University; Jeremiah DuBovis who is an MSc candidate in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at UNBC and to Angus Ball who is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia.

L-R: Steve O’Hara, Gibraltar Mine, Lori Clyde, Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Jeremiah DuBovis, UNBC, Angus Ball, UNBC and Wendy Gardner, TRU

For the first time at the TRCR, a judged poster session of seven University student poster exhibits and verbal explanation of their work was held. The winner was Angus Ball for his poster, The Remediation of Ultramafic Rock Tailings: How Bioamendments and a Microbial Inoculum Impact Annual Rye Grass Growth and the Development of Microbial Communities which evaluated impacts of soil amendments and microbial inoculum on ryegrass growth in tailings reclamation.

L-R: Wendy Gardner, TRCR Scholarship chair from TRU and Angus Ball, UNBC.

Tony Milligan Book Award:

Tony Milligan was a founding member of the TRCR, a past manager of reclamation at the Elkview Mine, and a BC reclamation inspector. Throughout his career, Tony had a keen interest in increasing our understanding of mine reclamation. Each year, the Milligan Book Award is given to the paper at last year’s BC Mine Reclamation Symposium judged to best address technical and practical aspects of reclamation.

Tim Poulton and Colleen Hughes were presented with the Tony Milligan Book Award for their paper, “Copper Mountain Mine Wolfe Creek fish habitat offsetting plan effectiveness monitoring presented at the 45th BC Mine Reclamation Symposium in Kimberley, BC in 2022. Bill Price, TRCR Chair for the Book Award added, “This paper described the 2020 realignment of Wolfe Creek, providing higher quality fish habitat, and restoring downstream habitat impacted by agriculture. Constructed habitat features included overwintering and summer rearing ponds, new meandering channels, woody debris, boulder clusters, and riparian vegetation. Results indicated the work was achieving the habitat improvement objectives for the targeted fish.”

L-R: Steve O’Hara, Gibraltar Mine, Tim Poulton, Hatfield, Colleen Hughes, Copper Mountain Mine and Bill Price, NRCan.

All the technical papers from this 2023 Symposium are now available on UBC’s eCIRCLE on the Publications page. We would like to thank our TRCR Papers chair, Lauchlan Fraser of Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and his 2022 paper review subcommittee of Jaimie Dickson, Landon Benson, Michael Preston, Anayansi Cohen-Fernandez, Steve O’Hara, Trina Hoffarth, Kosta Sainis, and  Yihting Lin.

Symposium Event:

The conference began on September 18th at the Prince George Conference Centre with two half-day short courses. The am session was NATS Nursery Ltd. Workshop Native Plants for Mine Reclamation: From Seed to Seedling. The workshop discussed what happens before seedlings are planted in mine reclamation programs, where do native plant seeds come from and how they are grown. Information on how to ensure a successful native plant revegetation program on lands disturbed by mining was provided and NATS Nursery cracked open some mysteries of nature about native plants for mine reclamation – from propagule through propagation to proper planting.

In the afternoon, the MAVEN workshop was unfortunately cancelled and a wonderful replacement job was done regarding Invasive Species and Reclamation – Challenges and Best Practices. The session was a practical workshop session providing insights into how and why invasive species need to be addressed in mining planning and reclamation. Topics will include a quick primer on related regulations, partnering with First Nations, overview of best practices and key species of concern for mine operations and reclamation.  The session was interactive and open to dialogue and delivered by the skilled and knowledgeable team of Gail Wallin, Dave Walkem, and Dave Ralph from the Invasive Species Council of BC, Canada’s oldest and largest provincial organization focused on invasive species.

On September 19th, a full day field tour of the Gibraltar Copper Mine in Williams Lake was conducted by Taseko Mines Gibraltar staff which returned on time for the Welcome Reception held at  the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre.

Gibraltar Pit lookout

Mike O’Kane in reclaim area presenting upended raptor roost

Walk through planted seedlings on reclaimed waste rock pile

Intrepid TRCR Chair Steve O’Hara from Gibraltar Mine on tour

On September 20th and 21st, Technical Paper presentations were heard with many questions asked during 20 sessions regarding reclamation and mine closure innovations, and climate change adaptation. The presentation agenda, which did have a few changes on Day 2, is found here: BC TRCR 2023 agenda.

An exhibitor area comprising 24 manned booths was included at the conference centre to discuss products or services from a wide range of companies such as, seed producers, reclamation contractors, environmental consultants, analytical services, and software developers.

Nearly 300 people attended the symposium including more than 220 people in person at the Prince George Civic Centre and others attending virtually; they ranged from mining industry and Government representatives, University students and representatives of Indigenous nations. Ten indigenous representatives were given free registrations from the TRCR with travel/stay stipends provided by the TRCR, mining companies and Governments that supported them to come.

Thanks so much to our conference facilitator Aevias for a well organized day and the 36 sponsors that so graciously helped the TRCR to carry out this year’s Symposium (please see their logos scrolling on the right of the website).

Congratulations to all this years Winners.

We will see you next year, for the 47th Annual Mine Reclamation Conference (dates of September 23 to 26th, 2024) in the Lower Mainland to view Sand and Gravel Mine Reclamation. The theme for the technical and community presentations will be Mine Reclamation and Biodiversity.

The venue will be the Delta Hotel and Convention Centre in Burnaby, BC and the field tour will be conducted at several aggregate sites in the area, including previous award winning quarries. The Call for Papers will be out soon.