February 13, 2006

Mine reclamation policy

In other environment-related activities, the Yukon government has approved and declared in effect a site reclamation and closure policy for hard rock mines. The policy was developed in co-operation with mining industry representatives, environmental groups, First Nations and government agencies and is consistent with reclamation and closure policies in other Canadian jurisdictions. It has also been endorsed by the Yukon Minerals Advisory Board, which said the policy "reflects the industry's support of the modern practice of integrating mine closure and progressive reclamation into mine planning and operation."

"This policy will ensure that planning, implementing and financing of reclamation and closure are considered throughout the mine's life," said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Archie Lang. "It also requires that companies provide financial security to ensure that reclamation and closure requirements will be carried out," he added.

Under the policy, the mine operator is responsible for reclamation, care, maintenance and abandonment of the site. All mines must have a government-approved reclamation and closure plan in place before development proceeds, with periodic revisions and adjustments made to the plan as new information is collected.

After mine development or production ends and once the territorial government is satisfied that the operator has complied with all licence conditions, a closure certificate will be issued. Finally, the government will determine the form and amount of security to be provided by the mine operator to cover the outstanding mine reclamation and closure liability; this amount will be adjusted periodically in accordance with the decreased or increased site liability.

Detailed technical and financial guidelines, dealing with specific conditions for reclamation standards and the forms of acceptable financial security, will be developed to complement the policy. Further public consultation will be undertaken to finalize the guidelines, which should be completed by April 2006.

The policy document may be viewed on the Energy, Mines and Resources Web site, www.emr.gov.yk.ca. More information is also available from Laurie Sthamann at EMR, 867/667-3163, E-mail laurie.sthamann@gov.yk.ca.

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