British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Regulatory considerations for historic mine remediation in BC : Atlin Ruffner Mill and Tailings case study Runnells, Joanna; Stewart, Gregg G. (Gregg Gordon), 1961-


A large number of historic mine sites across British Columbia are no longer operating and no responsible person exists or can be found. The clean-up of historic mine sites is undertaken as per provisions within the Environmental Management Act (EMA), and particularly the Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) and the Hazardous Waste Regulation (HWR). The Crown Contaminated Sites Program (CCSP) of the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations leads the management of contaminated provincial lands where the province has accepted responsibility. The CCSP identifies and prioritizes sites using a science-based and risk assessment approach to reduce risks to human health and the environment. Using the Atlin Ruffner Mill and Tailings Site as a case study, the application of the CSR and the HWR to the remediation of a historic mill and tailings will be discussed. The site is approximately 20 km from Atlin, BC and produced silver, lead, and zinc as well as gold, copper, cadmium, molybdenum, and tin. Prior to remediation, the mill and tailings site included a mill building with machinery and ore storage bins, two leveled areas (upper and lower mill pads), two trailers, a shack, an explosives shed, a tailings pond, two settling ponds, and an adit with flowing drainage. Prior to remediation, the site was classified as High Risk under the CSR and metals in soils and mine wastes were classified as leachable hazardous waste under the HWR, requiring special permitting to be managed on site. The paper will focus on the application of the CSR and HWR to the mine site.

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