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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mine closure planning with First Nations communities : the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation and the New Afton Mine Collins, Benjamin C.


The goal of this research is to understand how the traditional knowledge of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation can be used to improve reclamation and closure planning of the New Afton mine. Furthermore, this research will provide insight into consultation with First Nation communities for closure and reclamation planning. The New Afton Mine site, located ten kilometers west of Kamloops, BC is on the traditional territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and Skeetchestn Indian Bands. The application of traditional knowledge for closure is a relatively new field. As such, the application of the findings of this research are at a conceptual level. Interviews with traditional knowledge keepers were conducted to understand the relationship between plant life, wildlife, water sources and the traditional use pattern in the area. Site visits to both the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation and New Afton Mine site have taken place during this research study. Visits to the New Afton property focused on determining and understanding the different areas of disturbance. Visits with the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc members were aimed at engaging, recognizing, and understanding their objectives for the long term post-closure use of the mine site. This research found an extremely strong connection between the community’s culture and natural environment. In addition, hunting, fishing, medicinal and nutritional plant gathering were considered as the key traditional land uses in the area. The New Afton Mine was known as an old stop-over ground for travelers in the region. Concerns relating to the impacts of tailings and possible contaminants to the environment (water, wildlife and plant life) were indicated. Reclaiming the land to a natural state was outlined as the most desirable outcome for closure. The technical constraints of the property were also discussed (subsidence zones, semi-arid conditions, etc.) and how the property, considered as a brownfield development, impacts the closure and reclamation outcomes. Finally, through the interviews and field notes, it was found that successful consultation and collaboration with First Nations communities requires: respect and understanding of the community’s culture and history, well established trust, and an ability to be flexible to the needs of the community.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada