NEWS RELEASE: OMA-CLRA symposium explores new science to reclaim historic mine sites

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 sixth annual Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium will be applying modern science to the rehabilitation of historic mine sites. This environmental event, which is organized by the Ontario Mining Association in collaboration with the Canadian Land Reclamation Association (CLRA), is being held June 18 and 19, 2013 in Cobalt – one of the oldest mining regions in Canada.

The program for June 18 explores both the geology and history of mining in the cobalt camp and the environmental legacy of this activity. “Challenges with Developing Closure Plans for Historical Mining Areas like Cobalt-Coleman” is the title of a paper being presented by Michel Julien and Jean-Francois Doyon from Agnico-Eagle Mines, which maintains a large landholding in the area.

Another presentation, “From Tailings Basin to Aquatic Ecosystem: The ecological recovery of two waterbodies” is on the agenda. There are also talks dealing with water quality monitoring, improvements in water treatment and engineering wetland systems to manage tailings areas.

At the banquet in the evening of June 18, the Tom Peters Memorial Reclamation Award will be presented. Mr. Peters was a pioneer in the field of mine reclamation and a founding member of the CLRA, which was established in 1975. There are two components to this award – one for industry and a $5,000 bursary, which is sponsored by Vale, for a graduate student pursuing a degree in this discipline.

The field trip on June 19 will include visits to several historic mine sites and include both completed remediation work and plans for future rehabilitation. Also, the tour will explore managing hazards from old underground workings in the town of Cobalt. A visit to the Cobalt Mining Museum is included as well.

For further information on the symposium and field trip and registration details contact Peter White at pjtwhite@axxent.ca or Lesley Hymers at the OMA lhymers@oma.on.ca.

The registration fee for the symposium is $75; for the banquet it is $40 and for the field trip it is $40. There are reduced rates for students in all three activities. Don’t let the name of the community’s name sake element, which is number 27 on the periodic table, fool you. Silver was discovered in Cobalt in 1903 and the area quickly became one of the largest silver producing areas in the world. In 1911, silver production exceeded 30 million ounces.

The OMA and CLRA have held this mine reclamation conference in a variety of communities across Ontario in the past. Previous locations for the workshops have been Kirkland Lake (2008), Timmins (2009), Elliot Lake (2010), Sudbury (2011) and Thunder Bay (2012).

The purpose of these mine rehabilitation conferences is to encourage the pursuit of excellence in mine reclamation, share knowledge, information and research results and to share best practices. It is also to promote a better understanding of the outstanding achievements in mine reclamation to Ontario’s mining industry, the environmental community and the broader public.

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