More than 100 delegates attending the Canadian Land Reclamation Association’s (CLRA) conference being held in Timmins this week, ventured out of the meeting rooms at the McIntyre Arena to learn about the reclamation projects undertaken by Goldcorp and Glencore near the city.
The attendees at this year’s CLRA conference came from a variety of backgrounds. There were people from mining companies, government ministries, environment remediation consultants and more than a few university students and other academics. They came from all over the province and even from far away as Japan to learn what the mining industry in Timmins has done to try and clean up the environment
The conference is dedicated to discussing all the latest and greatest developments in the world of trying to return former mining facilities and tailings ponds to their natural state – or at least as close to it as possible.
Bryan Tisch, the vice-president of the CLRA Ontario chapter, believes that the four-day conference’s first return to Timmins was a success.
“It was a very good conference. The last time we were here was in 2009, and we were hosted by Goldcorp. Now we’re back, and we get to see what changes have occurred since then,” said Tisch. “We’ve had 155 people attend the technical sessions on Monday and Tuesday, and we had 44 talks in total, so we had a good range of topics.”
Organizers took attendees on several trips to see sites that years ago had been filled with toxic byproducts left over from the mining process, but now are mostly grown over with vegetation or even have fish living in former tailings ponds.
On Wednesday morning, the attendees toured several reclamation sites being run by Goldcorp, some of which are now decades old.
“We’re looking at what technologies Goldcorp is using; they’ve got the Hollinger tailings right in the middle of town, basically,” said Tisch. “We have some of these sites where there are fish in them after 10 years. We’re learning how things work. They also have this relationship with First Nations, which is also very new to many of us.”
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