Mine closure and reclamation – two words that today are part of any mine
plan. Mining companies are taking pride in their environmental responsibility; you can go online to many
mining company sites and find reports, statistics, photos, and plans.Want to know how many trees have
been planted to date? You can probably find out.
This pride is good. It shows a clear acceptance of responsible operation and mine
closure and invites new ideas and people to the table. But it hasn’t always been this way. Go back a handful
of decades, and environmental issues didn’t exist – and mines were leaving a legacy of problems.
Today, century-old mine sites are the focus of major remediation projects. Science
is proving contaminated land can be reclaimed. And mining companies and governments are stepping up
to ensure it is done right.
The Britannia and Sullivan Mines are two great examples of mine closure. Both mines date back a century.
Britannia closed decades ago, and Sullivan just a couple years ago, but both are today undergoing
major reclamation and new life will soon breeze across the sites. These two projects, both in British
Columbia, are ground-breaking examples of sustainable practices and best practices in
managing mine closure.