Goldcorp creating a good buzz [Timmins tailings restoration] – by Ron Grech (The Timmins Daily Press – July 7, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

Six years ago, the Coniaurum mining tailings property was a barren site, resembling the surface of another planet. Today, the same are is covered with tall grasses and flowering vegetation. In the midst of this reclamation site, is an enclosed area of hives set up for honeybees.

For its efforts, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has earned an award for a reclamation project which went above and beyond the usual requirements for re-greening tailing sites. The Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award was presented to Goldcorp at a provincial reclamation held in Sudbury last week.

The award was in recognition of improvements made to the Coniaurum reclamation property on Carium Rd. in Schumacher.

“You couldn’t tell from what we’re seeing that this was a bit of wasteland or moonscape,” said Dave Buchar, Goldcorp’s strategic development manager. “If you came out here five, six or seven years ago, you definitely wouldn’t recognize it today. It was an old tailings facility, virtually no vegetation whatsoever.”

Rick Francoeur, Goldcorp’s senior environmental co-ordinator, said, “One of the things, when we talk about the award, that sort of set Coniaurum above the other sites is the fact not only have we done the reclamation, we’ve gone one step further with partnerships with Aboriginal communities as well as with a local beekeeper.”

He said, “The original intent was with the centennial anniversary, that it would be a neat idea to have honey or ‘liquid gold’ sort of as a keepsake. Unfortunately, it didn’t get to that point but the minute we had the hives out here, we saw the immediate benefits with the vegetation” from the bees pollinating.

Lászlo Götz, Goldcorp environmental manager, said,

“The fact that this was one of our first major reclamation projects and we received an award for it sets the bar very high for the future reclamations. And given the fact there’s about 24 more mine sites we are responsible for, we have quite a number of future reclamation projects.”

Buchar is hoping Goldcorp’s achievements with the Coniaurum will reinforce what the mine is capable of doing through its reclamation efforts.

“I would hope that this gives people confidence that as we move towards our Hollinger Mine project” it shows “we can take a mining site and turn it into something that is quite useable by the project in the future.”

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