UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A political landscape : insertions into the Highland Valley Copper Mine Nielsen, Martin H.


The natural landscape of the Highland Valley site has been permanently altered by open -pit mining activity that has taken place over the last 25 years. The current reclamation project (the result of Government legislation) is essentially a continuation of the man-made intervention that began when the mine first opened - at best an attempt to manicure or cover up the damage that has taken place and at worst a denial of the impact of open pit mining. Although the mine is expected to have a remaining productive life of 20 years, a significant portion of the mine will become inactive within 3 years. This proposal intends to leave the abandoned areas essentially intact without significantly altering the existing terrain - counter to traditional reclamation methods that attempt to 'return the land'. It will then stand as both an example of what open pit mining entails and as a large scale ecological laboratory for scientists to study nature's own reclamation process. Furthermore, the deserted landscape will continue to benefit society as an educational and recreational area where direct experience of a controversial landscape would lead to a more balanced view of the issues that surround mining and natural resource exploitation. The agenda for the site involves a series of insertions that, in part, provide for the direct experience and understanding of the mine landscape and the physical process that it underwent. Direct site experience will promote a more informed critique of the issues surrounding mining at both a local and global context by focusing on two diametrical narratives: the man-made process that shaped the site and the natural process that follows. The landscape is further reclaimed by the provision of facilities that support recreational activities such as fishing, hiking and mountain biking in summer and crosscountry skiing in winter. The aims of encouraging tourism on the site is to draw a connection between society and nature, to expose the issues of the site to a broader audience, and, in particular to bear witness to the consequences of society's dependence on mineral resources.

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