Tashe, N & Hantler, L 2022, 'Achieving landscape-scale social and ecological recovery for successful mine closure', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: 15th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 845-856, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2215_61
Mines operate in biodiverse and culturally diverse regions of the globe. Mine restoration through design and construction of landforms and establishment of vegetation may result in a different landscape that can impede the capacity to return the social and ecology back to pre-mine conditions. There is a need to meet social and ecological restoration standards by defining impacts and providing mine owners with actions to implement during the life-of-mine to return to pre-mine condition. Ecologically based restoration standards aim to:
Avoid or reduce the area of disturbance particularly rare or sensitive ecosystems where feasible.
Minimise disturbance by prioritising mine activities in already disturbed landscapes wherever possible.
Reduce the recovery timeline to the extent possible by implementing progressive reclamation beginning with safe, stable and non-polluting landforms; and when long-term impacts are unavoidable.
Conducting offsetting which can be in the form of monetary programs that support large-scale recovery efforts, protection of critical habitat or offsite recovery of legacy mines and other adjacent degraded landscapes in order to move towards ecological and social net gain.
To illustrate, we present restoration examples from Peace River Coal’s Trend-Roman Mine near Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada. The history of mine activities will highlight the following examples of:
Where key areas were avoided.
Where mine expansion can use existing disturbance to protect social and ecological values.
Shortening the recovery timeline by restoring the land building blocks.
Measures to show net gain through land offsetting and understanding the role of indigenous communities and stakeholder needs for re-establishing the social and ecological use on landforms.
Keywords: restoration, coal, caribou, water quality, principles, offsetting, indigenous
British Columbia Court of Appeal 2011, West Moberly First Nations v. British Columbia, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources  B.C.J. No. 942,
British Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) 2019, Government implements interim moratorium to protect caribou, Office of the Premier press release,
British Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (BC FLNRORD) 2021, Population Estimates for Caribou Herds of British Columbia, October 2021,
British Columbia Ministry of Environment 2014, Ambient Water Quality Guidelines for Selenium Technical Report Update, Water Protection and Sustainability Branch Environmental Sustainability and Strategic Policy, Division British Columbia Ministry of Environment,
Duthie-Holt, M, Burleigh, J, Cleaver, M & Strome, T 2007, Peace Forest District Mountain Pine Beetle Comprehensive Strategy 2007, Prepared for: BC Forest Service, Peace Forest District,
Festa-Bianchet, M, Ray, JC, Boutin, S, Côté, SD & Gunn, A 2011, ‘Conservation of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Canada: an uncertain future’, Canadian Journal of Zoology, vol. 89, no. 5,
Gann, G, McDonald, BW, Aronson, J, Nelson, CR, Jonson, J, Hallett, JG … Dixon, KW 2019, International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration, 2nd edn,
Grant, C & Botha, R 2019, Mine Closure Toolbox, version 3, Anglo-American,
Kurjata, A 2021, ‘BC won’t appeal landmark First Nation court victory; BC Supreme Court found approval of energy projects in Treaty 8 territory is ‘death by a thousand cuts’, CBC News,
Lortie, D 2014, Coal Assessment Report: Roman Property Peace River District, BC Geological Survey Coal Assessment Report 954,
Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) 2022, Mountain pine beetle, NRCAN, Vancouver,
Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC) 2007, Project Description Roman Mountain Project, prepared for BC Environmental Assessment Office, pursuant to BC Environmental Assessment Act,
Peace River Coal Inc. 2010, Roman Coal Mine Project Environmental Assessment Report, Peace River Coal, Vancouver,
Peace River Coal Inc. 2012a, Trend-Roman Mine Joint Mines Act and Environmental Management Act Permit Amendment Application. submitted to the Technical Advisory Group for Major Mines Permit Applications, Vancouver.
Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC) 2012b, Cumulative effects re-analysis memorandum to BC Environmental Assessment Office. PRC, Vancouver,
Peace River Coal Inc. (PRC) 2022, Trend-Roman Mine Five Year Mine Plan and Reclamation Plan for 2022 to 2027, submitted to the BC Ministry of Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
Powell, K 2013, ‘Anglo American contributes $2.5 million to Caribou Mitigation’, Canadian Mining & Energy,
Seip, D & Jones, E 2011, Population Status of Threatened Caribou Herds in the Central Rockies Ecoregion of British Columbia,
Serrouya, R, McLellan, BN, Boutin, S, Seip, DR & Nielsen, SE 2011, ‘Developing a population target for an overabundant ungulate for ecosystem restoration’, Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 935–942.
Species at Risk Public Registry 2021, Species List, Species at Risk Public Registry, Government of Canada,
Stantec Consulting Ltd. (Stantec) 2011, High Elevation Vegetation Transplant Plan for Reclamation of Core Caribou Habitat, draft report prepared for Peace River Coal Inc., Vancouver.
Stantec Consulting Ltd. (Stantec) 2012, Caribou Mitigation and Monitoring Plan, prepared for Peace River Coal Inc, Stantec, Burnaby.
Virah-Sawmy, M, Ebling, J & Taplina, R 2014, ‘Mining and biodiversity offsets: A transparent and science-based approach to measure ‘no-net-loss’’, Journal of Environmental Management Review, vol. 143, pp. 61–70, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479714002138