Millions of dollars in revenue from Manitoba's booming mining industry have been earmarked to pay for the industry's "past sins."

$6.8 million will be spent cleaning up contaminated sites at Sherridon, Lynn Lake, Gods Lake and nine smaller sites in eastern and northernManitoba, provincial officials announced Thursday.

"These sites have been abandoned for years. They're causing environmental damage," said Jim Rondeau, the minister responsible for mines.

"We said as a government, we were going to have a priority to clean up the sites, do the right thing environmentally, making sure that it's done in real time."

The cleanup is a huge undertaking because many hectares of land are contaminated, Rondeau said.

"We couldn't just leave it and continue to dodamage to the environment, so we know that it's an environmental disaster that we had to clean up," he said.

"We took some of the mining revenue that we're gaining today to clean up the past sins of companies that have gone out of business."

The sites targeted have been abandoned for years, and the companies who ran them no longer operate in the province, Rondeau noted.

If mining companies want to operate in Manitoba today, they must have an environmental plan in place in order to get a licence.

In some cases, the province is building dams and rerouting creeks to prevent acid tailings from leaching into the water.

Other work that will be undertaken with the new money includes:

  • Engineering and survey work at Sherridon, a copper-zinc mine that operated between 1931 and 1951.
  • Demolition of buildings at Lynn Lake.
  • Demolition of the Elk Island power line at Gods Lake.