Northern Reclamation in Canada: Contemporary Policy and Practice for New and Legacy Mines
The Northern Review 41 (2015): 41–80
This article discusses the factors shaping contemporary reclamation regimes in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Labrador, and Nunavik in northern Quebec. It distils policy documents, laws, research reports, and newspaper articles for a clear overview of current policy and practice in the North and shows that no overarching vision informs reclamation planning. Instead of direction from Ottawa, responsibility for policy-making now largely sits with provincial, territorial, and regional governments along with local land and water boards. Efforts to mitigate the impacts of new and legacy mines are complicated by the highly site- and case- specific nature of reclamation; the lack of a clear, ambitious technical and regulatory definition of reclamation; and the jurisdictional overlap and governance issues associated with cleanup. Addressing these wider policy challenges in the North is crucial to meet the expansive, expensive demands of mine reclamation. As well, remediation efforts that draw on traditional knowledge and encourage local involvement can mitigate and manage some of the worst impacts of northern resource development. Policy reform such as strengthened regulations and more rigorous government enforcement will help facilitate this. However, reclamation can also exacerbate inequality and environmental problems. Effective reclamation demands more than a particular technological fix or planning strategy; it involves a candid discussion of the goals and limitations of reclamation projects, both past and present. This article has been summarized in an accessible up-to-date poster and will be of interest to concerned parties grappling with a plethora of reclamation regulatory bodies and programs.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. The journal has the right to authorize third-party publishers & aggregators to include the Article in databases or other services (EBSCO, Proquest).
d. The journal has the right to share the Article on the Internet, through social media and other means.