British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Remedial works implementation at the Britannia Mine remediation project O'Hara, Gerry


The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (the Province), is undertaking a program of environmental remediation at Britannia Mine, located 45 km north of Vancouver, BC. The Britannia Mine operated for 70 years and produced mainly copper and zinc concentrates. During its operating life, and since its closure in 1974, the mine has discharged large volumes of acidic water, elevated in metals toxic to aquatic life, including copper, zinc and cadmium. Metal loadings to Howe Sound average some 300 kg/day each of copper and zinc. The Province’s remedial concept uses the mine workings as a storage reservoir balancing seasonal flows to a water treatment plant prior to discharge to Howe Sound. In addition to the acid rock drainage (ARD) from the mine, mine infrastructure and mineral processing activities provide secondary sources of metal contamination of soils, groundwater and surface water. The major investigation phase of the project completed in 2002 and remedial planning and implementation commenced in early-2003. Remediation works include a novel groundwater management system, surface and storm water drainage, relocation and management of ~35,000m³ of metal-contaminated soils, surface water diversions and construction of a high-density sludge water treatment plant and deep outfall, the latter scheduled for completion in November, 2005.

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