British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposia

Managing environmental requirements for new mine developments in British Columbia Hawes, Robert A. 2010

You don't seem to have a PDF reader installed, try download the pdf

Item Metadata

Download

Media
1982 - Hawes, Thurber - Managing Environmental Requirements.pdf
1982 - Hawes, Thurber - Managing Environmental Requirements.pdf [ 1.52MB ]
1982 - Hawes, Thurber - Managing Environmental Requirements.pdf
Metadata
JSON: 1.0042061.json
JSON-LD: 1.0042061+ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 1.0042061.xml
RDF/JSON: 1.0042061+rdf.json
Turtle: 1.0042061+rdf-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 1.0042061+rdf-ntriples.txt
Citation
1.0042061.ris

Full Text

Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  MANAGING ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW MINE DEVELOPMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA Paper Presented by R.A. Hawes Norecol Environmental Consultants Ltd. J.W. Gadsby Thurber Consultants Ltd.                              41 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  MANAGING ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW MINE DEVELOPMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA INTRODUCTION To develop new mines in British Columbia, or to undertake major mine expansions, environmental impact assessment reports and permit applica- tions are required for government approvals. Mining projects are probably the largest multi-disciplinary undertakings in B.C. Unlike many civil engineering projects, such as the construc- tion of highways and bridges, mine developments require a wide range of multi-disciplinary expertise from the exploration, construction and operational stages through to mine abandonment. Mine projects, because they tend to require large financial and human resources, and because they can impose potentially significant effects on the environment over a relatively long period of time, have developed special environmental requirements in B.C. Often these requirements are more stringent than those found in other industries. It is generally recognized in the mining industry that environmental approvals can impose significant hurdles. The process of obtaining approvals can lead to long and costly delays or even abandonment of some potential mining ventures. The manager responsible for mine development must be concerned about how to design and schedule the environmental studies to meet regulatory requirements. This is often not an easy task. The present guidelines process for B.C. mine developments has been designed to ensure that projects are technically acceptable and can be supported by the government and the general public. However, to the mine manager the guidelines process often is confusing, time consuming, and costly. It does not provide for effective integration of the engineering, environmental and project decision-making processes that are ongoing to bring the mine into production. Furthermore, bureau- cratic confusion and lack of concensus by the review agencies often make it difficult and time-consuming to determine the project study para- meters necessary to meet government requirements. Another major problem with the guidelines is that they don't incorporate the political component into the decision-making process. The guide- 43 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  lines are primarily technical in nature and tend to underplay the political issues. This creates a major unpredictable element in the approval process. Although public support or opposition to the project is not explicitly addressed, it may be a significant or even major component in obtaining project approval at the political level. As a result, a project may attempt to meet all the technical requirements even if there is very little political support and chance of approval for the project. To deal effectively with the British Columbia guidelines process, a properly designed strategy for managing the environmental studies is required. This strategy, which must incorporate elements of the environmental, engineering, corporate and government study and review processes, will help to minimize the time and study costs, and will greatly enhance the chance of achieving mining approvals. In this paper we outline the present stages and key steps in the environmental approval process. An outline of key management objectives are suggested to integrate the engineering, environmental and government guidelines processes. A summary of the key components in planning a successful environmental study program is provided. STAGES IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS The mining environmental review process is formalized around the Guide- lines for Coal Development (1976) and the Procedures for Obtaining Approval of Metal Mine Development (1979). These two guidelines are among the first attempts to officially coordinate an environmental review process for industrial development in British Columbia. An outline of the present environmental guidelines review process is shown in Figure 1. While Figure 1 is specific to coal mines/ the process is similar for metal mines. This figure updates present en- vironmental and engineering data requirements, which go from a broad general overview, based largely on available information, to detailed site specific engineering and ecological information for the impact assessment and permit components. Figure 1 shows that even with a well-designed study program, and as- suming that no significant environmental issues develop, it will take a 44 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   45 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  minimum of approximately 24 months from the submission of the Prospectus to the time of obtaining mining approvals. The submission of the Prospectus initiates identification of the project and formally enters the proposed development into the guidelines process. The Prospectus is sent to review agencies for their informa- tion, but no formal review process occurs. As this is not an official review stage, identification of environmental problems is not a major concern to government agencies. The Prospectus outlines the conceptual mine plan, size and type of deposits, project schedule and potential biophysical and socio-economic concerns. Stage I is the identification of the environmental and engineering problems stage. Stage I outlines baseline data, the preliminary mine development plan and alternatives, potential sources of environmental impacts and recommends detailed Stage II studies. The key to a good Stage I report is a conceptual mine layout and mining system which is conceptually, and from an engineering viewpoint, reliable. Based on the conceptual mine plan, major environmental concerns should be realisti- cally identified, both for the government (for their recommendations of relevant Stage II requirements) and for the company so that they can design appropriate study programs to meet Stage II requirements. The Stage I report goes to review agencies for comment and detailing of specific Stage II concerns and data requirements. The Stage I report is formally reviewed by the Coal Guidelines Steering Committee (CGSC) and review agencies. The Committee will coordinate the review agencies comments into recommended study programs and issues that should be addressed in the Stage II report. Alternatively, the Steering Committee could recommend rejection of the report due to insufficient project detail. It could also recommend project rejection to the Environment and Land Use Technical Committee (ELUTC) which makes repre- sentations to the Environment and Land Use Committee (ELUC) due to potentially serious environmental concerns. Stage II is the resolution of the environmental problems stage. Stage II is the critical step in obtaining project approval-in-principle. A detailed environmental impact assessment report is required which: details environmental parameters as specified in the Stage I review; details the mine plan, including transportation routes and mine infra- structure requirements; identifies environmental impacts and proposed 46 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  mitigation and impact management procedures; and outlines the proposed operational environmental studies and monitoring programs. Draft permit applications should also be submitted concurrently with the Stage II report. Stage II review can result in CGSC recommendations for: (1) government approval-in-principle, subject to permit acceptance; (2) rejection of the report and thus the project due to the need for additional work; or (3) rejection of the project. The CGSC could also comment directly to the company that there are significant data gaps and that they should be completed for Stage II approval. The Guidelines process ends with completion of the Stage II requirements. Normally some Stage II level deficiencies, identified in the Stage II review, will be required to be completed for the CGSC during Stage III. Stage III is the designation of the permit licences and conditions stage. Final engineering design and any Stage II data deficiencies must be completed and final determination of licence conditions made. Following approval of the licences the project can proceed. Major expansions of existing coal and metal mines are now reviewed in the guidelines review process. Required are: a modified identification of the problems level Phase 1 report, and a detailed Phase 2 impact assessment and management report. The Phase 2 report is expected to provide Stage II level information to address environmental concerns specific to the mine expansion that can not be covered by the normal issuing of permits. The guidelines process is currently undergoing formal review. The metal mines guidelines are expected to be revised in 1982, but the guidelines for coal mines may not be revised until early 1983. The revisions are not expected to result in major changes to the guidelines; rather they likely will formalize the presently accepted practices, such as project approval-in-principle at Stage II. 47 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  TAILORING ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENGINEERING STUDIES TO OBTAIN AGENCY APPROVALS The most common problems mine managers have in using the guidelines are: - to fully understand the review process - the complexity of the process, identifying critical decision points, identifying key agencies and committees; - understanding the scope and detail of engineering and environ mental data requirements at each stage; - understanding the time requirements for data collection and government review; - designing proper sequencing and integration of studies; and - understanding what approvals at each stage mean and the; limita- tions of these approvals. To deal with this complex environmental review process, produce a reliable mine design, and schedule and integrate the required multi- disciplinary components, a properly designed strategy for managing the studies is required. Developing the environmental management strategy requires the integration of key elements of the environmental, engineer- ing, and the corporate study processes with the guidelines review process. Figure 2 shows a flow chart for the exploration, engineering and financing of typical major mining projects.1 This figure shows the complexity of coordinating the multi-disciplinary team to bring a mine into operation. Critical points in the mine management decision process occur at the Order of Magnitude Study, Budget Estimate Study, and the Final Feasibil- ity Study. 1This flow chart is provided by kind permission of T.S. Hughes, Mining Consultant, Bank of Montreal, Vancouver, B.C. 48 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation                      49 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  To develop the management objectives and strategy in order to effect- ively deal with the hurdles of environmental approvals, it is necesary to combine together the steps of the guidelines review process (Figure 1) with those of the mining flow chart (Figure 2). Figure 3 has been prepared to illustrate the integration of the key elements in the environmental, engineering and the guidelines process to assist in developing the management strategy. For submission of the Prospectus, mine management should have: - completed the detailed exploration stage studies which delineate the proposed site development, infrastructure requirements and the project schedule, - identified major environmental issues to be considered in engineering and financing feasibility studies, - selected key personnel for the management,  engineering and environmental study teams, and - initiated liaison with the government review agencies. During preparation of the Prospectus it may be prudent to initiate baseline studies which can be carried into the Stage I program. Such planning often saves valuable time, especially when seasonal data must be collected. The prime purpose of the Stage I studies is to identify potential environmental problems for the project. In order that a realistic Stage I report may be submitted mine management should: - provide a realistic conceptual mine plan which is reliable in engineering aspects.  Although the mine plan will be modified during the more detailed design stages, it should be reasonably similar to the final design, - identify major technical issues that could affect permits or be of concern to non-permitting agencies, 50 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation                      51 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  - integrate key environmental concerns with the design of engineer- ing alternatives, - develop political support for the project. This may frequently require management to initiate and hold public meetings with special interest groups. The prime purpose of the Stage II report is for resolution of the problems identified in the earlier stages. The Stage II report should contain: - a detailed mine plan which will permit a thorough review of the project, - detailed baseline inventory information addressing areas of concern previously identified, - detailed impact assessments and planned mitigation and impact management procedures, - proposed Stage III level studies and monitoring programs. The Stage II report is the key report for project approval, and all important issues identified in the government review and liaison process should be addressed and dealt with prior to submitting the report.1 No major data gaps or surprises should occur during the formal report review. A major weakness of many Stage II reports is the lack of engineering detail. A comprehensive, reliable mine plan is required along with detailed engineering studies. Common problems in Stage II submissions are the result of the lack of engineering detail and the lack of environmental consideration in the final engineering design. Both aspects should be integrated as much as practical to produce a techni- cally sound and defensible Stage II report. As a guide, engineering inputs should be sufficiently detailed and advanced so that the company 1Tables 1 and 2 following this paper provide a list of the key govern- ment committees and agencies in the guidelines review process. 52 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  can file simultaneous draft permit applications (e.g. mine plan, waste water licence, reclamation plan) with the Stage II report. When the Stage II requirements are completed and approval-in-principle for the project has been achieved, the project moves out of the guide- lines process. Mine management will then deal on a one-to-one basis with the permitting agencies. ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Although the environmental impact assessment process is relatively new, it has become an established procedure which likely will remain with us for a long time. The present trend in mining impact assessment studies in British Columbia is clearly toward developing more stringent techni- cal requirements for virtually all study parameters. Review agencies are increasing staff numbers to deal with a broader range of concerns and are requiring more technical detail. Failure to deal effectively with the guidelines process will impose significant constraints on developing a successful mining venture. To obtain government approvals as quickly and efficiently as possible a specific environmental management strategy needs to be developed. Key elements in formulating this strategy are: - Plan sufficient time for the studies. A minimum of approximately two years is required for project approval, but more likely about three years will be needed.  Pushing study schedules due to unrealistic time requirements often leads to poor technical results, data gaps or poorly integrated studies which can result in increased delays and study costs. - Understand the guidelines process.  An appreciation is required of the complexities, uncertainties, hazards and critical decision points in the guidelines process. - Develop credibility.   Development of credibility and trust through good communication and a positive attitude will generate a favourable response in government and the community. - Maintain initiative.   Attempt to get approvals quickly and efficiently and avoid long delays in communication which can 53 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   54 create uncertainty. Maintaining good communication with review agencies will minimize the possibility for surprises in the review process and potential delays. - Develop sound technical programs.  Sound biophysical and socio- economic technical programs should be developed that at least meet present requirements.  It is likely that as the project develops, additional detail will be requested to address new problems or meet changing government requirements.  The programs should be flexible to deal with potential changes. ~ Integrate study processes. Environmental and engineering information needs to be integrated to provide a technically sound and defensible mining proposal. - Realistically evaluate potential environmental concerns.   The company should evaluate potential environmental constraints and concerns early in the review process as an aid to internal planning.  This will help accurately to assess funding levels required  to  develop  satisfactory  study  programs  and  will facilitate the early incorporation of acceptable solutions into the engineering design. Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors greatly appreciate the encouragement and help received in preparation of this paper from: J.D. McDonald - Chairman, Guidelines Steering Committee, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. R.L. Crook - Guidelines Coordinator, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Victoria. M. Galbraith - Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. T.S. Hughes - Mining Consultant, Bank of Montreal, Vancouver. 55 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   DISCUSSION RELATING TO ROB HAWES' PAPER Neil Duncan, Energy Resources Conservation Board; In review committees of the government the only mention made of the public seems to be under Stage II where you say that developed political support may include public meetings. Is that the only opportunity for the public to actually have input of their concern on the scheme? What would your advice be to an applicant on how to present this to the public? Answer; The public does not have to be directly involved. When Stage II is submitted, reports are normally distributed to community, libraries, and public comments can be received through the Coal Guidelines Steering Committee. The steering committee encourages public meetings, but there are no formal hearings and normally formal public meetings are not required though many companies now, and some that are here today, are on their own initiative having public information meetings with the community. J.D. McDonald, MEMPR; Maybe I could just add to that Neil. There is no formal requirement in the stage process for hearings other than under the Pollution Control Act, the Water Management Act and the Environmental Land Use Act. Under the Pollution Control Act, and Water Management Act, if there are more than five objectors, then they can call a public hearing and of course the Environmental Land Use Committee under that Act can ask for a hearing. In Alberta you do have public hearings. I think at some point in time public hearings will be a formal requirement of the Guidelines process. Malcolm Ross, Crowsnest Resources; You mentioned environmental studies but at the end you mentioned socio-economic. Could you comment on the balance of the environmental impact on the physical environment and the socio-economic impact. 62 Proceedings of the 6th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1982. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  Answer; A socio-economic report is required as part of the Guidelines process. It's very thorough in addressing housing and labour demands on the local community: where the housing will be, the companies policy toward housing, hiring practices and labour training. Malcolm Ross, Crowsnest Resources; How does that fit in with the review process and with respect to a public hearing. Answer; They are submitted together and they go through the review process together, although they are reviewed by separate agencies and committees. Malcolm Ross, Crowsnest Resources; But there is no actual need for public input in the socio-economic studies? Answer, J. McDonald, MEMPR; There is no legal legislation or regulation to that effect under the Municipal Act. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs certainly reviews socio-economic studies because the Municipal Act takes into account what is required in the way of housing, labour force and what monies the government has to put in to upgrade the community. In the review process the municipality itself gets involved through municipal affairs. We've had cases where a decision between using a new town, or an existing town for a new mine development had to be made. The existing community certainly made its position known and it became a political de- cision, based on a lot of studies mind you, of what is best for the area. 63

Cite

Citation Scheme:

    

Usage Statistics

Country Views Downloads
China 4 40
Japan 3 0
United States 2 0
Russia 1 0
City Views Downloads
Beijing 4 0
Tokyo 3 0
Unknown 2 0
Ashburn 1 0

{[{ mDataHeader[type] }]} {[{ month[type] }]} {[{ tData[type] }]}

Share

Share to:

Comment

Related Items