News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 22, 2008

$19 MILLION COMMITTED TO REHABILITATE ORPHANED MINES IN MANITOBA

– – –
Manitoba Continues to be a Leader In Mine Rehabilitation: Rondeau

The provincial government has committed $19 million in funding to continue the cleanup of orphaned or abandoned mines during the next two years, Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.
 
The $19 million will go to rehabilitating projects in Lynn Lake, Sherridon, Snow Lake, Gods Lake and 12 other sites.
 
“Establishing an environmental liability account in 2006 was the critical step to addressing the safety and environmental health concerns associated with these sites,” said Rondeau.  “The account, which currently holds $80 million, supports our commitment by providing the fiscal framework needed to deliver major, long-term funding.  Today’s funding continues our aggressive strategy to fully rehabilitate Manitoba’s former mine sites.”
 
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. Many of these sites were developed over half a century ago before environmental impacts were fully understood and modern operating standards were developed.  Some of the sites pose environmental, health, safety and economic risks.  Orphaned and abandoned mines exist in all mining jurisdictions in Canada.
 
In 1999, the Manitoba government introduced mine closure regulations that require environmental liabilities incurred during mining operations to be financially secured to cover future remediation costs. Now, all mine closure plans and financial security must be filed and approved prior to a permit being granted for a new mine operation.
 
Mining is one of Manitoba’s largest primary resources industry. Last year, mineral production totalled $2.5 billion.
 
“Mining is a major player in Manitoba’s economic well-being and is an important source of employment for Aboriginal and northern communities,” said Rondeau. “This province is a leader when it comes to taking measures to ensure former mine sites in Manitoba are rehabilitated and the environment and health of the public are protected.” 
 
“The mining industry recognizes that mine reclamation is an expected part of doing responsible business” said Ed Huebert, Executive Vice President of the Mining Association of Manitoba Inc. “Today’s announcement of cleaning up old mine sites that go as far back as the 1920s is a positive event”.  
 
Manitoba is working towards building a healthier and safer environment by working with local communities, First Nations and industry to rehabilitate orphaned and abandoned mines sites throughout the province, said Rondeau, adding the rehabilitation work will also bring direct economic benefits to nearby communities and First Nations as well as long-term gains of clean air, water and land.
 
More information about orphaned and abandoned mines is available at:
www.gov.mb.ca/iedm/mrd/mines/oa_rehabilitation.html.
 
- 30 -
 
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED


Backgrounder
Significant progress was made under the Orphan/Abandoned Mine Site Rehabilitation Program - http://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2008/2008may/OrphanedMines.ST.doc