British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

A comparison of pre-development and present molybdenum concentrations in vegetation on the Endako Mine Site and implications to ungulate health Riordan, Barb


Biogeochemical data collected at Endako Mine between 1950 and 1965, demonstrated that vegetation containing very high molybdenum concentrations was present over the orebody before mine development. Work conducted by the Geological Survey of Canada shows that a large molybdenum anomaly exists in the Endako Mine area, and vegetation with elevated molybdenum concentrations was present in areas surrounding the site before development. Since there is no evidence of unhealthy ungulates before mine development, it is assumed that the elevated molybdenum concentrations were not harmful to wildlife. The present risk of consuming vegetation growing in reclaimed areas of the mine site to moose and deer was assessed by comparing concentrations of molybdenum in vegetation growing on tailings and waste rock dumps with samples collected in 1964. The concentrations in reclaimed areas are lower than those measured over the orebody, and indicate that vegetation on reclaimed sites is not more harmful to wildlife than that sampled before mine development. This is supported by two studies conducted at the mine which demonstrate that moose and deer are not showing signs of molybdenosis.

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