Environmental planning in mine waste management - The Huckleberry Mines experience

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 97, No. 1077, 2004

D.C. Johnson, H.F. Letient

At the 25th Annual B.C. Mine Reclamation Symposium in September 2001, Huckleberry Mines Limited received the Jake MacDonald Reclamation Award for its exemplary mine waste management plan, conceived to prevent the onset of acid rock drainage (ARD) and facilitate reclamation of the site. The mine is an excellent example of a total mine waste management plan, with all materials scheduled in detail for the life of the mine. The filling plan for the waste management facility takes into consideration the requirement for permanently flooding the potentially acid-generating rock. From an acid generation point of view, the tailings fall in the zone of potentially acid-generating material. To avoid long-term ARD concerns, it is planned to float pyrite out of the tailings toward the end of the mine life, thereby generating a non-potentially acid-generating tailings stream which will be used to cap the deposited mine waste. The pyrite-rich tailings will be discharged into the deeper portion of the impoundment. On closure, a permanent water cover will be maintained over the mine waste. Only beaches of non-potentially acid-generating tailings will remain exposed. Mining will be phased to also allow one of the pits to provide storage for potentially acid-generating rock and to be flooded at the end of mine life.
Keywords: Huckleberry Mines, Environmental planning, Mine waste management, Acid rock drainage, Tailings deposition.