British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The first Certificate of Compliance for a mine site in British Columbia : BHP Minerals Canada Ltd. Island Copper Mine North, R. H. J.


The Contaminated Sites Regulation implemented in April of 1997 by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (BCE), provides standards for the determination, investigation and remediation of contaminated sites in British Columbia. The BHP Minerals Canada Ltd. (BHP) - Island Copper Mine was the first mine closure to participate in the Contaminated Sites Regulation process and achieve a Certificate of Compliance (Conditional) in British Columbia. Following mine closure, BHP wished to see the property utilized by another industrial operation that would contribute to the local economy. Since the mine was located on provincial Lands, BCE required that a Certificate of Compliance under CSR be obtained prior to a change in site usage and site lessee. BHP elected to pursue this option. The application for the certificate was limited to the "Plant Site", a 90 hectare portion of the 750 hectare overall mine site. The Plant Site included the mill, maintenance buildings, crusher, mine dry, thickeners, tailings pipeline and administration offices. The paper describes the investigative efforts, remediation, and risk assessment work that were required to obtain the Conditional Certificate of Compliance. Of significance to mine sites is the determination of background levels of metal constituents at the site. Undisturbed soils do not generally contain concentrations of metals as high as soils subsequent to mining activities. Thus, it may be difficult to demonstrate elevated background metals concentrations in order to reduce the scope of remediation/risk requirements under the CSR. Proper planning that ensures adequate collection of pre-mining and closure site data is the key to achieving timely, cost-effective closure under the Contaminated Sites Regulation.

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