Archive | Mining Environmental, Water Shortage and Land Reclamation/Revegetation Issues

NEWS RELEASE: Winners of the 2020 Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Industry Award and $5,000 Student Bursary Announced (Ontario Mining Association – January 12, 2021)

The Canadian Land Reclamation Association – Ontario Chapter has announced the winners of the 2020 Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Industry Award and Student Bursary. The annual awards were established in 2007 to encourage the pursuit of excellence in mine reclamation and to recognize and promote, to the mining industry and environmental community at large, outstanding achievement in the practice of mine reclamation in Ontario.

This year’s industry prize went to Kirkland Lake Gold’s Detour Lake Mine for their project entitled The Detour Lake Mine Research and Progressive Reclamation Program. With a projected life of mine to 2040 (or longer), the Detour Lake Mine initiated, in 2012, a progressive reclamation effort, supported by a long-term multidisciplinary research program.

The extensive efforts of this program continue to address several aspects critical to successful mine reclamation, including ecosystem restoration with native species and the management of metal leaching and acid rock drainage from mine waste materials. Continue Reading →

Resolution Copper completes $75 million restoration of historic mining land – by Paul Moore (International Mining – January 11, 2021)

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Resolution Copper says it has completed a $75 million restoration and reclamation project of 475 acres of land impacted by close to a century of historic impacts from the Magma Copper Mine near the Town of Superior, Arizona.

Resolution Copper voluntarily committed to accelerate the reclamation work to demonstrate its commitment to cleaning up the historic mining impacts well in advance of any new mine development activities.

Resolution Copper Project Director Andrew Lye said: “We’re proud to deliver this significant piece of environmental remediation work decades earlier than required, to make our community a cleaner and safer place to live and work. Continue Reading →

Global mine reclamation expert to be given honorary doctorate by Laurentian University – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 28, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Ecological engineer Margarete Kalin-Seidenfaden worked in Northern Ontario mine tailings projects

A pioneer in applying the principles of ecological engineering to tackle contaminated mine waste sites will be recognized by Laurentian University at its fall convocation ceremony.

Margarete Kalin-Seidenfaden will be presented with an honorary doctor of science on Oct.31.

Her career as an environmental consultant includes co-founding Boojum Research in 1982, a Toronto R & D firm specializing in ecologically-based treatment systems. Continue Reading →

Sudbury regreening program nearing 10 million trees planted: Restoration story serves as model for global push toward land reclamation – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – September 29, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

This autumn was supposed to herald a noteworthy milestone for the Sudbury regreening project: the planting of its 10 millionth tree.

But with the arrival of the novel coronavirus last March came a scaled-down 2020 planting season, and instead that marker will be celebrated in 2021.

Still, as year 42 of the one-of-a-kind land restoration initiative comes to a close, the organization leading the project believes that some areas of the city are nearing the point when human intervention will no longer be necessary and nature can start taking over. Continue Reading →

The Sudbury model: How one of the world’s major polluters went green – by Sara Miller Llana (The Christian Science Monitor – September 24, 2020)

https://www.csmonitor.com/

When the Superstack was constructed in 1972, it was the tallest structure in Canada – and the tallest smokestack in the world. At 1,250 feet, it’s visible from every vantage point in the area. It can be seen from the bustling streets of downtown to the quiet cul-de-sacs of residential neighborhoods. It looms large in the distance from highways that feed into a city that is home to one of the largest mining complexes in the world.

Built by Canadian company Inco before it was purchased by Vale, the Superstack has long stood as a reminder of the environmental devastation that mining wrought here. But this year the chimney is being fully decommissioned.

Residents of Sudbury harbor mixed feelings about the Superstack. Some see it as a memorial to their rise as a center of nickel and copper mining globally. Others see it simply as a familiar landmark that signals they are home. Gisele Lavigne lives in the Copper Cliff neighborhood at the Superstack’s base. Continue Reading →

Glencore’s former Ulan coal mine rehabilitated into natural habitat (Australian Mining – July 7, 2020)

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Glencore has transformed 52 hectares of the formerly mined land at the Ulan coal operation in New South Wales into a habitat for a diverse range of native plants and animals.

The rehabilitation efforts have been signed off by the New South Wales resources regulator for meeting the agreed completion criteria, having reached an appropriate post-mining state.

Government sign-off means that the Ulan site has reached the completion criteria and that with continued monitoring and maintenance, it will produce a self-sustaining ecosystem. Continue Reading →

This Yukon First Nation wants to use native plants to help remediate abandoned mine sites – by Julien Gignac (The Narwhal – June 13, 2020)

The Narwhale

With unreclaimed mine sites littering Kaska territory, the community of Ross River is hatching a plan to help solve the problem: an industrial-scale nursery replete with native plants.

In southeastern Yukon, the Faro, Ketza and Wolverine mines have all seen their owners go bankrupt, leaving behind contamination and hefty cleanup tabs. Here, the community of Ross River, which is less than 180 kilometres away from all three mines, sees an opportunity.

The native plant nursery will be the first of its kind in Yukon, according to the project’s organizers, with a scale and mandate of supporting major reclamation projects that sets it apart from other nurseries in the territory. Continue Reading →

Drought: how water scarcity could affect mining in Australia – by Scarlett Evans (Mining Technology – May 11, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Water is one of the most vital elements across the entire mining production process. Now, with record low rainfall severely limiting the availability of water resources across vast swathes of Australia, we speak to Associate Professor Claire Côte, director of the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry at the University of Queensland, about the impact of drought on mining operations.

From dampening dust to cooling machinery, crushing ore to transporting tailings, water is a crucial resource for miners. However, it is one that is becoming increasingly scarce in Australia and fears over the effects of an ongoing drought are beginning to ripple through the industry.

Is it a question of operations adapting in the face of dwindling water supplies, or are we looking for answers in the wrong place? With Australia already in the eye of the storm when it comes to climate issues and their relationship to the mining industry, the issue is one unlikely to be easily resolved. Continue Reading →

Central Chile drought has residents and mining companies clash over water rights (Merco Press: South Atlantic News Agency – April 7, 2020)

https://en.mercopress.com/

With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

“There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers,” Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment said.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly. Continue Reading →

Ex-Coal Man Flips the Script By Rallying Appalachians to Plant 187 Million Trees on Abandoned Mines – by Andy Corbley (Good News Network – March 30, 2020)

Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories

Although the Appalachian Mountains are often only thought of as coal country, the ecosystem as a whole is one of the richest and most biodiverse seasonal deciduous forests on earth.

In addition to the mountains boasting rich populations of freshwater mussels, a corridor for migratory birds, and more species of salamanders than any other range, Appalachia is also home to National Parks like the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee—a park that may have as many as 100,000 species just on its own.

However, Appalachia also has a darker, decades-long history of toxic coal-mining tactics such as mountaintop removal, surface reclamation, and blasting and tunneling that had done almost irreparable damage to local ecosystems, leaving hundreds of barren and bald hills throughout eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Continue Reading →

Down on the Farm That Harvests Metal From Plants – by Ian Morse (New York Times – February 26, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Some of Earth’s plants have fallen in love with metal. With roots that act practically like magnets, these organisms — about 700 are known — flourish in metal-rich soils that make hundreds of thousands of other plant species flee or die.

Slicing open one of these trees or running the leaves of its bush cousin through a peanut press produces a sap that oozes a neon blue-green. This “juice” is actually one-quarter nickel, far more concentrated than the ore feeding the world’s nickel smelters.

The plants not only collect the soil’s minerals into their bodies but seem to hoard them to “ridiculous” levels, said Alan Baker, a visiting botany professor at the University of Melbourne who has researched the relationship between plants and their soils since the 1970s. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Top lithium miner seeks to monitor water scarcity in parched Chile salt flat – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters U.S. – February 9, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – With residents and courts ringing the alarm about depleted water supplies in Chile’s Atacama salt flat, the world’s top lithium miner Albemarle (ALB.N) quietly filed a proposal in December for a network to monitor flows beneath the parched desert floor.

The previously unreported move is an indication of how important it has become for miners to prove their supplies of the so-called “white gold” battery metal are sustainable as they court automakers preparing for the coming electric vehicle revolution.

Car companies have ratcheted up scrutiny in the Atacama, by far the biggest source of supply in South America’s so-called “lithium triangle,” where one lithium producer is locked in a court battle over pumping of brine and a copper miner has opted for pricey desalination over drawing water from local aquifers. Continue Reading →

All of Chile’s copper mines to run in ‘extremely high water-stressed’ areas by 2040 – by Michael McCrae (Kitco.com – January 29, 2020)

https://www.kitco.com/

Between 30 to 50 percent of production for copper, gold, iron ore, and zinc is concentrated in areas where water stress is already high, reported McKinsey in a recent study looking at climate change and miners.

With climate change, the consultancy warned that water shortages will get worse for miners leading to social and technical challenges. “In Chile, 80 percent of copper production is already located in extremely high water-stressed and arid areas; by 2040, it will be 100 percent.

In Russia, 40 percent of the nation’s iron ore production, currently located in high water-stressed areas, is likely to move to extreme water stress by 2040,” writes the study’s authors. Continue Reading →

Lake trout’s return reflects success of Sudbury’s regreening efforts – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – January 23, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

‘Sudbury is an example to the world of what can be done’

All herald the mighty lake trout. This cold-water, oxygen-loving fish is a sign that Sudbury’s regreening efforts have really taken root.

“We’re trying to educate people about local species and local biodiversity in ecosystems,” Tina McCaffrey, supervisor of the city’s regreening program, says. “For myself and my parents, growing up 40 years ago, we know the landscape was black and lifeless. But children today – they miss out on that. They don’t always know what we’re talking about when we say Sudbury used to be like a moonscape.”

Sudbury’s regreening efforts are impressive. There is a hill in the Little Britain area where you can climb and look out over the slag pours of Vale in one direction, and the expanse of leafy neighbourhoods and verdant woods in the other. Sudbury no longer resembles the moonscapes of past decades. Certainly, our rocks are still black, but now they are covered in mosses, lichens, trees and shrubs that speak to the pioneering efforts of the VETAC committee. Continue Reading →

Australia Is Dry as a Bone, and Miners Need Water to Stay Afloat – by David Winning (Wall Street Journal – January 16, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

SYDNEY—A crippling drought in eastern Australia is threatening production of commodities from coal to gold, sparking a scramble by companies for water to keep their operations going.

The affected mines and processing operations are in arid regions a hundred or more miles inland of most of the areas hit by unprecedented bush fires. The severe drought conditions are expected to persist despite rain falling or forecast in the region in coming days.

Eastern Australia is a major supplier of metals and minerals to global markets, with more coal leaving its ports for customers in Asia than anywhere else in the world. Continue Reading →