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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Mount Washington mine remediation to support recovery of the fish stocks in the Tsolum River Healey, Peter

Abstract

On April 14, 2008, British Columbia Environment Minister Barry Penner and Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger announced a $4.5-million remediation of the abandoned Mount Washington open pit copper mine in an effort to support the recovery of Vancouver Island fish stocks. The mine remediation will take place in three phases, between 2008 and 2010. The project will include the installation of a bituminous geomembrane that will cover the entire site. This will be covered by a one metre thick glacial till layer, which will be planted with vegetation to stabilize and protect the material from the elements. The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources will lead the remediation. Historically, the Tsolum River had large salmon runs. Since that time, several factors are believed to have affected the river and its aquatic life, reducing the salmon runs. While these factors include development and logging along the banks of the Tsolum, the dominant impact has been copper leaching from the abandoned mining operation from the mid-sixties. The old copper mine started up in 1964 and extracted ore for less than two years. It milled the ore for just a few months longer, shutting down after the mining company went bankrupt in 1967.

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