British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Initiatives at Natural Resources Canada to deal with orphan and abandoned mines Tremblay, Gilles A.; Hogan, Charlene M.


The legacy of orphaned/abandoned mines, with their associated environmental liability, human health concerns and the financial costs of clean up, is a serious issue facing Canada. Canada’s long history in mining has resulted in more than 10,000 orphaned or abandoned sites, requiring varying degrees of rehabilitation. Mining regions have become less remote, and are often located close to populated areas, including many Aboriginal communities. A key priority of the federal Department of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is to promote the participation of Aboriginal communities in mining activities, including orphan and abandoned mines. Mining is generally regulated at the provincial level, although the federal department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada maintains most of the responsibility for mines in northern Canada. The National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI) was established in 2002, in response to the request of the Canadian Mines Ministers that a multi-stakeholder advisory committee be set-up to study various issues and initiatives concerning the development of partnerships in the implementation of remediation programs across Canada. NOAMI is a co-operative Canadian program that is guided by an Advisory Committee consisting of the mining industry, federal/provincial/territorial governments, environmental non-government organizations and Aboriginal Canadians1. This paper will present an overview of the scope of issues surrounding abandoned mines in Canada, and programs that have been initiated to address the problem.

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