British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Mining and aquaculture : a sustainable venture Otchere, Fred A.; Veiga, Marcello M. (Marcello Mariz); Hinton, Jennifer J.; Hamaguchi, Bob A.


The legacy of mining activities has typically been land "returned to wildlife", or, in some locales, degraded to such an extent that it is unsuitable for any alternate use. Progress towards sustainability is made when value is added to the local environment in terms of the ecological, social and economic well being of the community. In keeping with the principles of sustainable development, the innovative end land use of flooded open pits and tailings impoundments for aquaculture should be explored as it could make a significant contribution to the social equity, economic vitality and environmental integrity of mining communities. As flooding open pits and tailings after mining is a recommended measure for metal mines to inhibit the generation of acid rock drainage (ARD), practicing aquaculture within those pits and tailings impoundments will be in line with government policies for reclamation. In addition, aquaculture in a controlled closed environment may be more acceptable to critics of fish farming who are concerned about fish escapes and viral transmissions to wild populations. The main objective of this venture is to demonstrate that deactivated open pits and tailing ponds from metal and industrial mineral mines in Canada can be used as commercial, recreational or ornamental fish farms. The benefits derived from mining and aquaculture and some of the logistics associated with this venture have spin-off effects. The main concerns about metal bioaccumulation are discussed, as well as ways to mitigate this issue. Keywords: Mining; Aquaculture; Sustainable development; Mining policy; Abandoned mines; Reclamation

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