Reclamation is an important part of our operations, even while we are still mining. We understand the importance of reclaiming mine sites so that they can be returned to a viable northern environment at the end of operations. The goal of reclamation is to keep the site safe for human and wildlife use.
Long-term reclamation plans are in place to prepare for the eventual closure of the Ekati mine. Our approach is to “clean up as we go,” which is referred to as progressive reclamation. We are committed to working with community groups on the planning of future reclamation projects at the mine site.
To meet our regulatory water licence reporting requirements, Dominion submits an annual closure and reclamation plan progress report to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board, which is posted to its website.
In 2016, we hosted several community members and stakeholders at our reclamation sites so they could observe the research and activities underway, and to facilitate informed discussions on future closure and reclamation planning initiatives. The main focus was on the Long Lake Containment Facility reclamation research area, where rocks and plant life have been arranged in a variety of patterns to determine which approach allows the best vegetation growth and erosion control.
We also participated in technical conferences and workshops to discuss new ideas for closure planning and research. Company representatives made presentations at the Northern Mines Closure and Reclamation Working Group session in September 2016 and the Designing for Northern Mine Closure workshop in November.
Our overall plan is to have numerous reclamation projects in place, such as contouring country rock piles to create safe access routes for caribou, creating new fish habitats, and conducting re-vegetation studies. In 2016, reclamation work at the Ekati mine was focused on ongoing vegetation research, topsoil salvage, and reclamation of the Koala underground workings.
On June 15, we welcomed board members and staff from the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency (IEMA) for a tour of the Ekati mine site. IEMA is an impartial, independent, and knowledgeable third party that monitors the environmental management of the mine.