British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Britannia Mine closure plan O'Hara, Gerry


The BC Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (BCMSRM), is undertaking a program of environmental remediation at the Britannia Mine site, located 45km north of Vancouver, BC. The Britannia Mine operated for around 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 are estimated at an average of around 300kg/day each of copper and zinc. Using funding derived from the former mine owners and operators, the BCMSRM (the Province) developed a remedial concept based around using the mine workings as a storage reservoir to balance seasonal flows to a water treatment plant prior to discharge to Howe Sound. In addition to the acid rock drainage (ARD) from the mine, various mine infrastructure and mineral processing activities across the extensive mine site have resulted in the presence of many secondary sources of metal contamination of soils, groundwater and surface water. To date (July, 2003), the major investigation phase of the project has been completed and remedial planning and implementation commenced in early-2003.

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