Closed and Dormant Properties
A critical element of our sustainability vision is to create positive legacies through our dedication to properties and operations under care and maintenance and the proper closure of mines that have reached the end of their useful life. With this in mind, the major objective of our Closed and Dormant Properties Program is to eliminate or minimize public safety risks (e.g., potential hazards such as mine openings, tailings areas) and environmental impacts (e.g., the impairment of downstream water quality). Meeting our obligations to both public safety and the environment will in turn reduce the likelihood of us incurring future financial liabilities from our past operations.
We comply with all applicable regulations, regulatory decisions and our own Environment Health Safety and Community (EHSC) Management Standards. We also work to develop and maintain positive relationships with local Community of Interest (CoIs). Through these endeavours, we strive to both enhance and maintain our social license to operate.
In 2009, this program made significant progress and three examples are provided below.
Polaris Mine, Little Cornwallis Island, Nunavut, Canada
The Polaris Mine was located on Little Cornwallis Island, Nunavut. The mine operated from 1981 through September 2002. Decommissioning and reclamation work was completed in September 2004 in a manner protective of both the public and the environment. The operation has since been actively monitored to ensure compliance with Water License permit requirements, related to both effluent discharge and the operation’s physical stability. By the time Polaris’ Water License expires in 2011, we are confident that our commitment to the reclamation and long-term stability of the operation will have been amply demonstrated.
Warm Springs Operations, Montana, USA
The Warm Springs Operations, comprised of a number of underground phosphate mines located near Missoula, Montana, operated from the early 1930’s to 1993. Our objective at this operation was to remove contaminated soil in accordance with the Voluntary Cleanup Plan (VCP) agreed with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and satisfied landowners. The critical success factors for the plan included project safety, maintaining good relationships with the MDEQ and landowners, good communication within the project team, meeting regulatory requirements and VCP objectives, defensible clean-up documentation and timely and cost-effective completion of the work. The MDEQ provided final approval of the VCP in a letter to Teck in August of 2009. A draft Construction Completion Report is in progress.
Pend Oreille Mine, Pend Oreille County, Washington, USA
Please see the Pend Oreille case study.