Developing a Consistent Remedial Approach for the Cape Breton Development Corporation Mine Closure Program

CIM Montreal 2011
Abstract The former Cape Breton Development Corporation (CBDC) was a Canadian (federal) crown corporation formed under an Act of Parliament in 1967. The primary objective of the Government of Canada at the time was to expropriate the assets of the Dominion Steel and Coal Company (DOSCO) during a period of industry downturn (late 1950’s to early 1960's) in hopes of developing alternative economic opportunity in the area over a 20 year period which would hopefully result in alternative industries for the area. The Oil Embargo of the mid 1970's prompted further exploration of the coal resources in the Sydney Coal Field by CBDC and resulted in continued activity until 2001 when the last mine closed operation. At the time of CBDC inception and through much of its operation, environmental sensitivities were low compounded by the unique status of CBDC as a federally owned coal mining ‘company’, in a regulatory structure enforced through provincial laws.

The long history of coal mining in Cape Breton resulted in a large number of closed mines requiring rehabilitation. In 2001, CBDC engaged the Canadian government common service provider, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to aid in the planning and implementation of the CBDC Mine Closure Program consisting of over 700 properties and multiple project managers and consultants. The development of this program prompted the requirement for a clear and consistent framework by which decisions were based and stakeholders were engaged. CBDC and PWGSC with its environmental and engineering consultants formed a Remedial Objectives Advisory Committee (ROAC) to oversee the development of remedial objectives in the area of: decision-making; wetlands; ecological and human health; mine workings; long term monitoring, care and maintenance; environmental management; fish habitat; groundwater and, regulator engagement.
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