British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Bluebell Mine : foreshore remediation of Galena Bay Donald, B. J.; Kuit, Walter J.; Sandstrom, N.


In 1997, Cominco Ltd. initiated an environmental assessment and remedial program at its Bluebell Mine site which closed in 1972. An overview of the history of the mine and the complete project is provided in the companion paper titled Bluebell Mine - Remediation of a Historic Mine Site. This paper focuses on the management of tailing, concentrates (process fines) and mine water discharge (MWD) fines present on the foreshore of Galena Bay associated with the former concentrator operation. It explores the rationale and planning of the remedial work, and the challenges associated with completing the project. The results of environmental assessments of the site determined that groundwater crossing the foreshore areas of Galena Bay was being impacted by process fines and MWD fines. The remedial plan called for the removal of these materials and subsequent reconstruction of a "self-cleaning" beach. When planning the remedial action, many factors were considered, including: sediment chemistry; physical properties of the sediment; ecological health of Galena Bay; hydrodynamics of the bay; alternative excavation methods; containment of suspended sediments generated by the remedial work; and monitoring the effectiveness of the environmental control systems during excavation. Protection of the aquatic environment was the most critical aspect of the remedial work. Containment of suspended sediments within the work area was achieved by the use of a dual floating silt barrier system. The systematic monitoring of water quality using field and laboratory methods was undertaken to track the performance of the control system. The sediment control system worked well but its performance could have been enhanced by moving the primary barrier further from the work area, improving the design of certain barrier components and having earlier routine underwater inspections.

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