The Canadian Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Program

Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Abstract The legacy of orphaned/abandoned mines, with the associated environmental liability, human health concerns and the financial costs of clean-up is a serious issue facing Canada. In 1999 and 2000, a number of stakeholders put forth requests to the Mines Ministers to establish a joint industry-government working group, assisted by other stakeholders to review the issue of abandoned mines. The Ministers supported this initiative and asked that a multistakeholder workshop be organized to identify key issues and priorities.

The Workshop on Abandoned Mines, held June 2001 in Winnipeg, developed consensus, guiding principles and recommendations that were presented at the Mines Ministers’ Conference, September 2001. Ministers agreed on the importance of a large-scale program for the rehabilitation of orphaned/abandoned mines sites

A multistakeholder Orphaned/Abandoned (O/A) Mines Advisory Committee was formed and a plan was developed to study various issues relating to the implementation of remediation programs across Canada. Three task groups were formed to address the following key areas:

Information Gathering - to develop capacity for a national inventory of active, closed and orphaned/abandoned mine sites based on compatible inventories in each province and territory, including a nationally acceptable system for categorization and priority ranking. To include agreed upon definitions and terminology as applied to O/A minesites;

Community Involvement - to develop a plan to foster community involvement in decision-making about closure and reclamation standards, and to ensure that targeted end-use and reclamation standards are acceptable to local communities; and

Barriers to Collaboration - to evaluate the efficacy of various approaches, including “Good Samaritan” legislation, permit blocking, non-compliance registries, and allocative versus joint and several liability.

The presentation will include a summary of the results of the three projects and the future work plan for the program.
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