Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium: A Green Mining Success

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The success of the inaugural Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium has cleared the path to make the workshop an annual event.  Close to 60 people representing a number of companies and organizations participated in this event, which was held in Kirkland Lake June 24 and 25.  This environmental event designed to share best practices and new technologies in mine reclamation was organized by the Ontario Mining Association in partnership with the Canadian Land Reclamation Association and Northgate Minerals. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the inaugural Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award, which was won by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for its work on the Kam Kotia property in Timmins.   Though this honour was first presented at the OMA´s “Demographics, Global Markets and the Future Workforce” conference in Windsor, it was re-presented to Dick Cowan, who is retired from MNDM and who was heavily involved in mine rehabilitation in general and the Kam Kotia property in particular. 

This award has been launched by the OMA in cooperation with the Canadian Land Reclamation Association and MNDM with generous support from Vale Inco.  Tom Peters began his career at Inco in 1948 and through his work in the agriculture department, he played a major role in and provided leadership not just for rehabilitation work at Vale Inco but for the re-greening of Sudbury.  He pioneered the use of agriculture practices in rehabilitating mine tailings.

“The award is both a testament to a great employee and to our committment to mine reclamation,” said Fred Stanford, President of Ontario Operations for Vale Inco.   Bryan Tisch, Co-President of the Ontario Chapter of the CLRA said “Tom was a gifted leader who championed environmental causes related to the mining sector and was internationally recognized in the field of land reclamation.”

“The OMA represents companies commited to environmental stewardship,” said OMA President Chris Hodgson.  “The OMA considers the Tom Peters Award as an excellent way to honour an environmental trailblazer and recognize excellence among those in the industry involved with mine reclamation.” 

Along with the technical sessions at the symposium, there were extensive field trips to see the rehabilitation carried out at the Toburn Mine in Kirkland Lake and an overview of the Northgate Minerals Young Davidson advanced exploration project near Matachewan.  The OMA Environmental Committee held a meeting following the symposium.  A special thanks should be extended to Nancy Duquet-Harvey, Environmental Coordinator for the Young Davidson Project of Northgate Minerals, for handling many of the logistical arrangements for both the workshop and the OMA committee meeting. 

One of the other presentations at the symposium centred on the OMA-MNDM rehabilitation partnership and the Memorandum of Understanding, which has led to OMA members assisting the government in the rehabilitation of Crown-owned closed mine sites.  The joint presentation showed successes resulting from this cooperative venture. 

Following hot on the heels of the effectiveness of the symposium, work is already under way to make plans for the second annual Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium with an eye on Timmins as the possible location.