Conserve and revegetate: Reclamation and closure simply explained
We are currently witnessing huge technological advances that are changing every stage in the mining industry from prospecting and exploration to reclamation and closure. Reclamation process minimizes the adverse environmental effects of surface mining and returns the mine lands to a near natural state as possible as an open space, wildlife habitat, or even agricultural or commercial development. The process has gone a long way in the last decade. Canada has set an ambitious goal to conserve and revegetate 30% of the country’s land mass by 2030, and the Canadian mining sector has an opportunity to contribute to this shared goal. Additionally, Budget 2019 invested $49.9 million over 15 years ($2.2 billion on a cash basis starting in 2020–2021) to create the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program to address the largest and highest risk abandoned mines in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Meanwhile, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan continues to provide funding for the remediation of the other smaller mines and contaminated sites in the North under the responsibility of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
This issue features articles on mine reclamation and closure; mining in North America, Alberta, and Saskatchewan; and more. You can learn more on the latest revegetation technology by reading Jenny Fortier’s article on page 13. A report on page 16 discusses the benefits and risks of using several non-native species in mine reclamation. Flip to page 26 to learn more about critical minerals in North America.
Diane L.M. Cook discussed the pros and cons of Alberta’s coal phase-out on page 22, while the article on page 24 provides an update on Orano’s decommissioned project in northwestern Saskatchewan. Orano Canada’s Cluff Lake uranium project has reached the end of its mining life cycle through remediation. This comes after a decade of the site being fully decommissioned and open to the public. This issue also features articles on maintenance and transportation, safety, and technology on pages 28 to 36.
On a separate topic, despite receiving a lot of kudos during PDAC (Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada) 2023 for our February-March 2023 issue and its Women in Mining feature, including the cover image, we also received some negative feedback regarding our choice of the cover image for different reasons varying from using an AI (artificial intelligence) generated image to using a too-rugged looking model in the image. Of note, the image was chosen by our highly experienced female staff, along with some consultation from female leaders in the industry, who wanted to portray a strong woman breaking the final frontier of mining, working underground. However, we apologize to those who saw the image differently and were offended by the choice we made. We promise to be more careful in the future on sensitive issues.
Finally, our August issue will be devoted to our annual ranking of the Top 40 mining companies in Canada by revenue. We will also provide reviews on crushers, conveyers, screens, and a review on development projects of merit across Canada. Relevant, novel editorial contributions can be sent to the Editor in Chief until July 7, 2023.