Wiber, M & Berthelot, D 2006, 'Sustainable Development and Risk Assessment in Mine Closure ⎯ Case Study of Elliot Lake Uranium Mines, Canada', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 95-106, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_2
In June 2001, BHP and Billiton merged to create what is now the world's largest diversified resources
company with some 37000 employees working in more than 100 operations in over 25 countries. Through
this merger, the company inherited closed mining properties in a number of jurisdictions. BHP Billiton
adopted a leading practice Closure Standard in July 2004 that is being implemented at all BHP Billiton sites
worldwide. It provides a framework which ties closure planning to a set of objectives that clearly support the
Company’s Charter, its sustainable development policy and commitment to zero harm. In addition, the BHP
Billiton Closure Standard is in line with the International Council on metal mining’s ten principles for
In the Base Metals business unit, closed mine sites are located in 3 countries and include over 25 properties
in various stages of closure. Included in this number are the 9 Rio Algom Limited, Elliot Lake uranium mine
properties that were first developed in the 1950s (Table 1). This paper will focus on how the latest practices
in risk assessment and closure planning are applied for these properties 10 – 20 years into the post-closure
period. Important elements of the long term plan sustainability will be touched on, including cumulative
effects assessment and communications.
Table 1 Rio Algom Limited, summary of Elliot Lake uranium operations
Closure Method Million
Buckles 1957-1958 NA - Keep saturated -
Milliken 1958-1964 NA 23 Tailings to Stanleigh 0.08
Lacnor 1957-1960 Treat at Nordic 27 Soil cover, vegetated 2.7
Nordic1 1957-1968 Lime 117 Direct Vegetation 12
Lime and BaCl 411 Water covered 21
Spanish American 1958-1959 NA 12 Water covered 0.5
Lime and BaCl 123 Water covered 16
Quirke I and II 1956-1961
Lime and BaCl 192 Water covered 46
Pronto2 1955-1960 Lime and BaCl 47 Direct vegetation and paper mill
sludge cover for fines
1. Includes 0.04 Mt of contaminated sediment consisting of fine tailings and Ba(Ra)SO4 in 10.3 ha Buckles Creek
2. Includes 2.1 Mt of uranium tailings and 2.3 Mt of copper tailings
Mine Closure 2006 ― Andy Fourie and Mark Tibbett (eds)
© 2006 Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, ISBN 0-9756756-6-4
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 95
Anderson, A., Wiber, M. and Coggan, A. (2005) Carved from Rock, the Elliot Lake Story, Video, National Dream
Productions. Distributed by the Mining Museum, Elliot Lake.
Coggan, A. and Wiber, M. (2005) Fifty Years Environmental Record at Elliot Lake, Ontario Canada. Paper presented at
the Canadian Nuclear Safety Conference, Ottawa, May 2005.
Davies, M. (2001) Impounded mine tailings: What are the failures telling us, CIM Bulletin, July 2001.
Globescan (2005) Community Survey, Rio Algom Limited, Unpublished.
Hill, P., Blowes, D., Jordan, P. and Nathan, R. (2003) Estimating Overall Risk of Dam Failure: Practical Considerations
in Combining Failure Probabilities, ANCOLD 2003 Risk Workshop.
Kent, S. (1964) Words of Estimative Probability, Studies in Intelligence.
MacLaren, J.F. (1977) Environmental Assessment of the Elliot Lake Uranium mines Expansion, Volume 1-Background
Russel, C., Coggan, A. and Ludgate, I. (2005) I. Post Decommissioning Monitoring of Uranium Mines: A Watershed
Monitoring Program Based on Biological Response, Paper presented at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Conference,
Ottawa, May 2005.
SENES Consultants Limited (1995a) Environmental Impact Statement for the Decommissioning of the Quirke and
Panel Waste Management Areas.
SENES Consultants Limited (1995b) Environmental Impact Statement for the Decommissioning of the Denison and
Stanrock Tailings Management Areas.
SENES Consultants Limited (2002) Environmental Assessment Screening Report-Possession and management of
Nuclear Substances Situated at the Spanish America, Milliken, Lacnor, Nordic/Buckles, and Pronto Historical
Properties in The Elliot Lake Area, report the Canadian Nuclear Safety commission, March 2002.
Sustainable Development and Risk Assessment in Mine Closure
― Case Study of Elliot Lake Uranium Mines, Canada
M. Wiber, D Berthelot
106 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia