How a risk-based approach was used to advance reclamation at the Rainy River gold mine, Ontario, Canada Baisley, A.; Tallon, L.; Cornell, G.; St. Jean, S.
New Gold’s Rainy River gold mine near Fort Frances, Ontario, is actively producing 250 ounces of gold per year and also plans to generate 177M tonnes of mine rock to be stored in mine rock storage areas (MRSAs). While MRSAs can pose certain environmental risks, New Gold has taken a proactive approach to risk mitigation. New Gold developed a reclamation and closure plan guided by a risk-based approach using a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). An outcome of the FMEA was a commitment to conduct cover system and revegetation trials on pilot scale MRSAs. The trials will lower the risk associated with the effective establishment of the desired vegetation types and returning land use. The revegetation trial was designed in partnership with local indigenous communities, testing four cover system amendments, nine vegetation prescriptions and erosion control measures in a randomized complete block experiment. Each aspect of the study was designed to address a specific failure mode of the FMEA. Although the trial is in the early stages of a multi-year monitoring program, the risk-based approach has led to focused results that contribute directly to closure planning and has provided the framework to clearly demonstrate alignment with stakeholder expectations.
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