Mine Closure and Post Closure

Access Roads

Overview of BC Law

BC law mandates that all mine access roads be left in a manner that ensures long-term stability.263 In addition, all access roads to possibly dangerous mine surface areas must be effectively blocked to prevent inadvertent vehicular access.264 Provincial policy expands on these legal requirements by stating that roads should be re-vegetated where applicable and road decommissioning should ensure geotechnical and hydraulic stability.265


Although BC’s provincial policy outlines adequate re-vegetation and sediment prevention measures for decommissioning roads, these policies are not legally binding.

Recommended Solutions

Mandate the re-vegetation of all mine access roads that are to be reclaimed

[Tags: Re-vegetation; Reclamation; Growth Media; Decommission Roads]

Unlike in BC, detailed legislation governs re-vegetation of mine access roads in other jurisdictions. In Ontario, all transportation corridors must be closed off and re-vegetated “to an extent that is consistent with the specified future use of the land”.266 In California, all access roads, haul roads, and other traffic routes that are to be reclaimed must be stripped of any remaining road-base materials, prepared, covered with suitable growth media or topsoil, and re-vegetated.267

In Manitoba, legal provisions mandate road reclamation and require “the removal or preparation of roads, railways, airstrips and paths to promote re-vegetation”.268

Mandate the implementation of erosion control measures in road decommissioning

[Tags: Reclamation; Decommissioning; Sedimentation; Cross-Ditched]

Uncontrolled sedimentation is one of the biggest environmental issues associated with resource roads: it destroys habitat, impacts water quality, and disrupts riparian equilibrium balance. The need for adequate erosion controls is recognized in Idaho where legal provisions mandate that roads to be decommissioned must be cross-ditched to avoid erosion gullies.269 This can help limit uncontrolled sedimentation.

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