Authors: Holmes, R; Stewart, G


Cite As:
Holmes, R & Stewart, G 2011, 'A guidance document for mine closure and management of long-term liabilities – examining a policy framework in Canada', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 21-28,

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This paper provides a summary of a recent guidance document published by the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI), which examines a policy framework in Canada for regulation of mine reclamation and closure, including the management of long term liabilities and transfer of care and custody of closed mine sites back to the Crown. The guidance document provides recommendations for the development of a modern regulatory framework dealing with these matters. NOAMI was created by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Mines for Canada in 2002. The NOAMI Advisory Committee brings together a multi-stakeholder group representing governments, the mining industry, mining associations, environmental organisations and Aboriginal Canadians. It is a unique organisation globally focused on the issue of orphaned/abandoned mine sites. NOAMI assesses key abandoned mine issues and recommends to the Mines Ministers of Canada actions, collaborative approaches and partnerships toward remediation of existing abandoned mines and minimising the incidence of further abandoned mines in Canada. NOAMI has developed several guiding principles, one of which relates directly to the subject matter of this paper; “Work toward eliminating future abandonment must continue, including the tightening of regulatory approaches”. The guidance document is based on a survey of all Canadian mining jurisdictions and several key international ones. The guidance document provides a plain language, readable text for use as a reference document for citizen groups and for those mining jurisdictions in Canada contemplating new policy and regulatory development in these areas. It examines the main components related to mine closure and post-closure site management and it considers provisions for long-term monitoring and maintenance. Options are presented whereby mining jurisdictions may accept mining lands back to the Crown. Topics covered in the guidance document include closure objectives, closure plans, financial assurance, post closure care, return of sites to the Crown, custodial care and consultation. The paper suggests the key elements of a modern policy framework and makes recommendations related to the return of mining properties to the Crown.

All the publications cited in the paper are posted on the NOAMI website, viewed 7 June 2011, .
Cal Data Ltd. (2005) Capacity Building for a National Inventory of Orphaned and Abandoned Mines in Canada, viewed 7 June 2011, .
Castrilli, J.F. (2007) Report on the Legislative, Regulatory, and Policy Framework Respecting Collaboration, Liability, and Funding Measures in relation to Orphaned and Abandoned, Contaminated, and Operating Mines in Canada, viewed 7 June 2011, .
Castrilli, J.F. and C.N. Watson and Associates (2003) Potential Funding Approaches for Orphaned and Abandoned Mines in Canada, 7 June 2011, .
Castrilli, J.F. (2002) Barriers to Collaboration: Orphaned and Abandoned Mines in Canada, viewed 7 June 2011, .
Cowan Minerals Ltd. (2010) Policy Framework in Canada for Mine Closure and Management of Long Term Liabilities, viewed 7 June 2011, .
Cowan Minerals Ltd. (2006) Rehabilitating Abandoned Mines in Canada: A Toolkit of Funding Options, viewed 7 June 2011, .
NOAMI (2009) National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative 2002–2008 Performance Report, viewed 7 June 2011, .
NOAMI (2004) Guidelines for Legislative Review, viewed 7 June 2011, .
NOAMI (2003a) Lessons Learned on Community Involvement in the Remediation of Orphaned and Abandoned Mines - Case Studies and Analysis, viewed 7 June 2011, .
NOAMI (2003b) Best Practices in Community Involvement: Planning for and Rehabilitating Abandoned and Orphaned Mines in Canada, viewed 7 June 2011, .

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