British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Revegetation strategy at the Island Copper Mine Polster, D. F. (David Franklin), 1952-; Welchman, Brian; Hanks, Chris


Island Copper Mine ceased operation in 1995 after having operated its open pit and concentrator for 24 years. During this time, the operation produced 1.3 billion kilograms of copper, 31 million kilograms of molybdenum, 31.7 million grams of gold and 336 million grams of silver. A closure plan was submitted to the Vancouver Island Mine Development Review Committee in 1994. Following comprehensive reviews, additional information was submitted in 1996. Acceptance of the plan was given in 1998. Progressive reclamation at the mine has been ongoing since the 1970's, Reclamation plans address the need for a forest cover that is designed to move through succession, productive terrestrial wildlife habitat and a sustainable marine environment along the shoreline of the Beach Dump. Areas of maturing trees are interspersed with open grassy areas providing both food and shelter for wildlife. Forest productivity is developed following successional processes with Red Alder serving as a nurse crop for subsequent conifer growth. A total of over 1/2 million trees have been planted on mine site areas. A total of 759 ha have been reclaimed out of a total disturbance of 769 ha. The revegetation strategy developed for the Island Copper Mine is based on the natural successional patterns that operate in the area. Red Alder initially colonizes disturbed sites. Amelioration of harsh site conditions by the alder creates sites in which conifers can thrive. Conifer growth under an alder canopy is greater than conifer growth without the alder, Nitrogen and moderated site conditions are believed to be responsible for this. Special revegetation areas such as wetlands to treat drainage water and to provide diversity for wildlife: have been developed in selected locations on the mine site. This paper presents a synopsis of the revegetation work that has been conducted at the Island Copper Mine. The role of Red Alder in the reclamation of mine disturbances is explored.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International