British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

A review of the reclamation research program at Teck Cominco’s Sullivan Mine at Kimberley, BC Przeczek, John


The Sullivan ore body, a world class iron-lead-zinc sulphide deposit at Kimberley, BC, was discovered in 1892 by prospectors who were initially attracted to the area by previous lead-silver discoveries. Cominco Ltd. acquired the property in 1909 and mining operations began in 1910. Reclamation activities began at the Sullivan mine in the late 1960’s and a research program to convert waste rock dumps and tailing ponds to productive forest and rangeland was initiated in 1972. Initial studies focused on determining how to revegetate waste rock and mill waste. Various studies demonstrated that at least 30 cm of growth medium is required to grow a satisfactory grass dominated plant community and at least 60 cm of growth medium is required where alfalfa is a desired component. They also demonstrated that complex covers that integrate a float rock capillary barrier are effective in reducing the movement of acids, salts and metals into the growth medium. Species screening trials were used to determine which tree and shrub species would have adequate survival and growth rates. Growing season moisture deficit is the most significant limiting factor at the Sullivan Mine and it was necessary to create conditions that were free of vegetation competition before tree and shrub planting efforts were successful.

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