British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Bell Mine closure plan McArthur, D. Ross; Gallinger, Ross


A comprehensive Closure Plan was developed for the Bell Mine which ensured minimal post-closure environmental impacts and public safety. Since much of the information required to develop closure scenarios was not available, a major task in the development of the plan was collecting, collating and interpreting factual data from several studies including hydrology, hydrogeology and the aquatic environment. The key issues identified to be addressed in the closure design were: thorough assessment of mine rock and tailings geochemistry; prediction of long-term water chemistry; establishment of historical and existing environmental conditions in the vicinity of Bell Mine; and environmental assessment of the closure approach. It is determined that the onset of net acidic conditions in mine rock, not presently generating acid, is estimated to be in the order of 20 to 30 years. The water management system is designed to discharge runoff with acceptable water quality either by surface or submerged outfall into Babine Lake. If metal concentrations in these flows increase subsequently to unacceptable levels for safe release into Babine Lake, these flows will be directed into the open pit. When the pit fills to capacity, in approximately 50 years, the pit water may require treatment prior to release into Babine Lake. A lime neutralization treatment plant will be constructed 3 years prior to attaining the maximum storage in the pit. Reclamation and réhabilitation activities focus on integrating the landscape to wildlife habitat. Removal of equipment, infrastructure and development of revegetation programs using proven grass and legumes assist in achieving this objective.

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