British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Mine closure planning with first nations communities : the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation and the New Afton Mine Collins, Benjamin C.; Van Zyl, D. (Dirk)


At the base level of closure planning, community, stakeholders, & rights holder consultation is imperative to align closure goals for the long-term well-being of the land. In British Columbia and Canada, First Nations and Indigenous communities are at the forefront of the impacts of mining, and require meaningful consideration and collaboration for closure. The goal of this research is to understand how First Nations traditional knowledge can be used to improve reclamation and closure planning. Through an analysis of the traditional knowledge from the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation in regards to the New Afton Mine area, this research provides insight into consultation with First Nation communities for closure and reclamation planning. The application of traditional knowledge for closure planning is a relatively new field. As such, the application of the findings of this research are at a conceptual level and focus on the process of using traditional knowledge for closure. Interviews with knowledge keepers were conducted to understand the relationship between plant life, wildlife, water sources and the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc traditional use pattern in the area. Reclaiming the land to a natural state was outlined as the most desirable outcome for closure. In the end, the technical constraints of the property were found to be not well understood (subsidence zones, semi-arid conditions, open pit mining, etc.) and how they impact the desired closure and reclamation outcomes. This paper is part of the masters’ thesis of the same name under the supervision of Dr. Dirk van Zyl at the University of British Columbia’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering.

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