Mine Closure and Post Closure


Historically, closed mines were simply abandoned. This led to widespread and toxic contamination of local ecosystems. The infamous Mt. Washington Mine, for example, was a major contributor to the loss of salmon stocks in the Tsolum River on Vancouver Island.1 Salmon did not return until millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on remediation. Similarly, BC’s Britannia Beach mine site cost taxpayers $70 million to remediate and address its toxicity issues.2

Today, mine closure has become an integral part of the planning process before mining activities begin.3 This reflects a common expression in the mining industry that ‘the day a mine opens, it begins to close.’

This chapter delves into legal provisions on the following issues related to mine closure:

  • Closure plans (when they are required, what they must contain, and how they should be reviewed and approved);
  • Work Stoppage
  • Post-closure community development;
  • Reclamation (to what standards, monitoring and reporting, and decommissioning mining infrastructure);
  • Release of mine permit obligations; and
  • Orphaned mines.

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