Achieving Sustainable Mine Closure: Reclaiming a Mine in British Columbia, Canada
The focus of mine closure policies and practice in British Columbia has undergone considerable change since the first closure laws were enacted in the late 1960s. Even though the technical standards for determining what constitutes a successful mine reclamation project have risen considerably over the past three decades, the public's growing hostility toward the industry suggests that expectations have risen even faster. With terms such as "ecological footprint", "carrying capacity", and "sustainability" fast becoming part of the language of everyday discourse, the mining industry in Canada is under enormous pressure to demonstrate that mine reclamation practices are consistent with the public's increasingly sophisticated understanding of what constitutes sustainable development. To facilitate greater public understanding of their reclamation activities it is argued that companies need to work with stakeholders to develop a set of "sustainability proofs" that simply and effectively communicates the industry's commitment to assist the community in making the transition to a post-mining economy. This paper presents a framework for identifying these indicators that utilizes a heuristic model to integrate expert advice with local knowledge. The model would assist reclamation planners in determining which indicators are critical in shaping the opinions of the different stakeholder groups.
Keywords: Aesthetics, Expert Systems, Indicators, Mine Closure, Mine Reclamation, Sustainable Development
Dr. Stephen Roberts
Doctoral student, Dept. Mining and Mineral Process Engineering, University of British Columbia