May 8, 2006

NS research program will investigate new uses for reclaimed mine sites

HALIFAX, NS-A new scientific research program is being initiated to investigate how surface mine reclamation can support land use strategies in Nova Scotia. The goal of the program, said Natural Resources Minister Brooke Taylor, "is to find out how we can enhance the reclamation of former mine sites to support future commercial, recreational or residential land uses." He said the program will be led by provincial experts who will be invited to sit on a committee representing industry, academia, government, research organizations and public interest groups. The committee's mandate will include site selections for the study, a review of scientific literature, ecological studies, recommendations for test vegetation plots, planting and monitoring of test plots, public consultation and an action plan for re-integrating mine sitess into the local environment. Two potential study sites are the former Novaco Mine site at Point Aconi and the former Pioneer Coal mine site near the Sydney airport. The first phase of the reclamation study, expected to take two years, will also provide significant research and training opportunities for universities throughout the region. Taylor noted that success stories of this nature already exist in Nova Scotia. "Former mine sites in Stellarton and Westville are now appropriate for commercial, recreational and residential use, and the town of Stellarton is moving forward on development of lands that have been restored to productive use through mining," he stated, adding, "We need to gather the best science out there to know how enhanced reclamation can be applied in other areas."

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