Manitoba spending $42M to clean up old mines
The Manitoba government is spending $42 million to clean up 18 orphaned and abandoned mine sites in the province.
Premier Greg Selinger made the announcement Wednesday, saying a recession is a good time to rehabilitate contaminated land and water.
"We generate jobs, we clean up the environment, and if you talk to the local community up there in the Sherridon area, they see a future in eco-tourism and you need a clean lake to do that," he said, referring to the Cold Lake-Sherridon region north of Flin Flon.
The area's copper and zinc mine closed in the 1950s and has been abandoned ever since.
'The funding we are announcing demonstrates government's commitment to public safety, environmental stewardship and to the future of an industry that is a major pillar of our province's economy.'—Premier Greg Selinger
"As a result of all of this work, we are creating a healthier and safer environment," Selinger said.
Manitoba began acting on abandoned mines in 1999 with the introduction of mine closure regulations. The regulations require environmental liabilities incurred during mining operations to be financially secured to cover future remediation costs.
Future cleanups assured
Now, mine closure plans must be approved and financial security must be posted prior to a permit being granted for a new mine.
The mineral sector is the province's second-largest primary resource industry, after agriculture, and is a major source of employment for aboriginal and northern communities, Selinger said.
"The funding we are announcing demonstrates government's commitment to public safety, environmental stewardship and to the future of an industry that is a major pillar of our province's economy," he said. "Our objective is to deal with the environmental, health and safety risks and return these sites as close as possible to their original condition."
Orphaned or abandoned mines are mines for which the owner either cannot be found or is financially unable or unwilling to carry out site rehabilitation, according to the Manitoba government.
Many of these sites were developed decades ago, before environmental impacts were fully understood and modern operating and rehabilitation standards were developed.
More information about orphaned and abandoned mines is available by checking the government link at the top right of this page.