British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

First Nations engagement in mine closure : Sä Dena Hes mine decommissioning and reclamation Jeffrey, C. M.; Unger, M. L.; Pugh, J. C.


The Sä Dena Hes mine, which produced lead and zinc concentrates, is located approximately 70 km north of the Town of Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada and lies within the traditional territory of the Liard First Nation. The decision to enter the site into permanent closure was made in 2013. Under the mine’s licenses, reclamation must be substantially completed by 31 December 2015. Teck Resources Limited retained Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure in 2013 to carry out the implementation of Teck’s closure plan. The involvement of First Nations personnel was one of the main project priorities. During the short 2013 construction season, First Nations personnel worked over 60% of all on-site man-hours. The bulk of construction activities needed to be completed in 2014 to prepare for final reclamation activities to be carried out in 2015 during the final construction period. The strategy for completing the aggressive 2014 project phase within a limited timeframe included engaging larger general contractors that could handle the large scopes of work with stipulations during the tendering process of required First Nations engagement as part of the contractor selection process. Some of the site works, including items such as road maintenance and pipeline removal, were specifically left out of tender packages and awarded directly to local First Nations contractors to further promote their engagement in the project. Other First Nations engagement included hiring environmental monitors and first-aid attendants. The 2014 season saw more than 50% of all Teck-contracted man-hours on-site worked by First Nations personnel. Overall, First Nations personnel have worked 53.2% of all man-hours (26,754 out of 50,242 total man-hours) on Teck-contracted project aspects.

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