Progressive Reclamation at Mount Milligan
The end land use objectives for the reclaimed Mount Milligan Mine are for wildlife, recreation and the re-establishment of opportunities for traditional use of the land by Indigenous groups. Our aim is to reclaim the disturbed land so that features are chemically and physically stable and can be utilized accordingly.
The work to achieve these post-closure objectives has already begun across Centerra’s sites in British Columbia. Mount Milligan has been testing and implementing innovative techniques for progressive reclamation, while Kemess and Endako, two Centerra properties in care and maintenance, have been used as “living labs” to test the application of reclamation techniques.
In 2021, the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation, an organization of representatives from the provincial and federal governments, academia and industry, presented its 44th Annual Reclamation Award to Centerra and Chu Cho Environmental for ongoing research into innovative techniques at the Mount Milligan, Kemess and Endako mines.
Using the “living lab” approach, Centerra and Chu Cho Environmental were able to run case studies to help determine the best techniques for progressive reclamation. Endako Mine was a case study of slope contouring and hydroseeding, while Kemess Mine was an example of the “rough and loose” mounding and bioengineering methodologies. Varying levels of success can be seen at each mine as both sites have unique challenges and opportunities. By leveraging the experiences and success of two nearby Centerra mines, the Mount Milligan team worked towards establishing the best methodologies given site-specific environmental factors. At the end of 2021, following a two-year research period, Mount Milligan determined that the rough and loose mounding approach is the preferred soil preparation technique at Mount Milligan. This approach is now being used at an operational scale.
The success of this research demonstrates that knowledge sharing within the Company, and the mining industry in general, is helping to inform best management practices and avoid costly programs that hamper ecological restoration. To learn more on how Mount Milligan is implementing a large-scale proof of concept restoration trial in collaboration with Chu Cho Environmental and others, watch this short video here.