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A political landscape : insertions into the Highland Valley Copper Mine Nielsen, Martin H. 1996

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A P O L I T I C A L L A N D S C A P E : I N S E R T I O N S INTO T H E H I G H L A N D V A L L E Y C O P P E R M I N E M A R T I N H . N I E L S E N B . A . S c . , The University of British Columbia, 1986 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R OF A R C H I T E C T U R E in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S School of Architecture We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A May 1996 © Martin H . Nielsen, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Bcpartmcnt-Cf Ar2~W T~-^<X^ <\<— The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date K<^A )3» )/ ><?(c> DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T The natural landscape of the Highland Valley site has been permanently altered by open -pit mining activity that has taken place over the last 25 years. The current reclamation project (the result of Government legislation) is essentially a continuation of the man-made intervention that began when the mine first opened - at best an attempt to manicure or cover up the damage that has taken place and at worst a denial of the impact of open pit mining. Although the mine is expected to have a remaining productive life of 20 years, a significant portion of the mine will become inactive within 3 years. This proposal intends to leave the abandoned areas essentially intact without significantly altering the existing terrain - counter to traditional reclamation methods that attempt to 'return the land'. It will then stand as both an example of what open pit mining entails and as a large scale ecological laboratory for scientists to study nature's own reclamation process. Furthermore, the deserted landscape will continue to benefit society as an educational and recreational area where direct experience of a controversial landscape would lead to a more balanced view of the issues that surround mining and natural resource exploitation. The agenda for the site involves a series of insertions that, in part, provide for the direct experience and understanding of the mine landscape and the physical process that it underwent. Direct site experience will promote a more informed critique of the issues surrounding mining at both a local and global context by focusing on two diametrical narratives: the man-made process that shaped the site and the natural process that follows. The landscape is further reclaimed by the provision of facilities that support recreational activities such as fishing, hiking and mountain biking in summer and cross-country skiing in winter. The aims of encouraging tourism on the site is to draw a connection between society and nature, to expose the issues of the site to a broader audience, and, in particular to bear witness to the consequences of society's dependence on mineral resources. 11 T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S Abstract ii Table of Contents i i i Area Map - Southwestern British Columbia 1 Site Map - Highland Valley Copper Mine 2 Program 3 Site Taxonomy 4 Site Plan - Node Locations 5 Drawings Node 1: Process 6 Node 2: Blasting 7 Node 3: Reconstruction 8 Node 4: Aftermath 9 Node 5: Renewal 10 Model Photographs Node 1: Process 11 Node 2: Blasting 12 Node 3: Reconstruction 13 Node 4: Aftermath 14 Node 5: Renewal 15 i n A / H H O W S T O N E AREA MAP - SOUTHERN INTERIOR 1 P R O G R A M The program for the Highland Val ley mine site is intended as a sequence of events that heighten the experience of the site and further lead to an understanding of the physical narrative that is taking place. A series of six local sites or nodes have been situated in specific types of landscapes that are part of or a result of mining activity oh the site. These nodes, which have been placed in relation to active and inactive areas, attempt to expose, honour or mark the process of destruction and repair. The process node is located in a waste dump that overlooks both the active pit and the mi}l that processes the extracted ore. . This insertion provides a viewing platform and an exhibit area that relates to the mining process. B y its very location, the structure draws attention to the staggering volume of raw material required and the resultant waste material generated in the production of refined copper The blasting node comprises a control station and public viewing platform. The elevated platform allows views both into the active pit and an overlook to the natural forest behind. Its location on the edge of the active pit wal l provides a direct experience of the scheduled blasting ritual - an integral part of reordering the site. A series of survey markers indicate the movement of the pit edge as mining activity proceeds over the remaining 20 year life span. A third node reconstructs elements of the past landscape that existed before mining began on the site. Located at a.point midway between the active and inactive pits, it marks the elevation at which the preexisting valley landscape and the terrain of the present topography coincide. Ground-water and surface run-off is collected in a channel that follows the path of the creek that at one time flowed through the original valley - now a reconstructed landscape that is in the process of forced reclamation. A t a symbolic confluence of the preexisting, and present landscapes the water is forced underground to reappear at the process node. A fourth node connected by the upstream path of the ground-water channel is located at the throat and midpoint of the 400 meter deep inactive pit. A channel built of concrete sections and stacked stone anticipates the eventual overflow of the pit with ground-water and provides passage into the void of the empty pit. Steel ties that restrain the rock walls w i l l over time corrode and allow the channel to fall into ruin. A fifth node, sited at the highest point of the inactive pit wal l , provides views of both the empty pit and the encroaching natural forest that surrounds the site. A built structure w i l l allow access to the pit and w i l l provide restroom facilities for nearby campgrounds and addresses the long term future of the site. The pit edge and the natural forest behind are separated by a pine bosque which has been planted in rows of 5 year age increments gives a visual indication of the time scale for re growth and renewal. The final node, reached as one exits the site, is the m i l l where the ore is refined to a copper concentrate that eventually leaves the site. Although this node predates this proposal, and as such, is not a designed intervention, it is integral to the narrative of the site. S I T E T A X O N O M Y / N O D E R E L A T I O N S H I P S ( R E C L A M A T I O N ) A A F T E R M A T H O V E R B U R D E N E M P T Y P I T R E C O N T O U R E D W A S T E / T A I L I N G S O R E B O D Y E X T R A C T I O N I N A C T I V E M I N I N G A C T I V I T Y A C T I V E ( M I L L ) N A T U R A L M A N - M A D E E N V I R O N M E N T 4 CO o Model P h o t o g r a p h - Node 2: B l a s t i n g ( F u l l V i e w ) Model P h o t o g r a p h - Node 2: B l a s t i n g ( C l o s e Up) 12 Model Photograph - Node 3: Reconstruction (Full View) Model Photograph - Node 4: Aftermath (Full View) Model P h o t o g r a p h - Node 5: R e n e w a l ( F u l l V i e w ) 

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