Innovative Strategies at Kemess South Mine

Client: Northgate Minerals
Location: BC

Given its geographic scale and remote location, Kemess South mine was not a typical contaminated site. Based on our knowledge of the site, our knowledge of similar projects, and our review of the CSR, Hemmera determined that most of the potential contamination in the non-core areas could be remediated via risk assessment, thereby avoiding a traditional Contaminated Sites Regulations (CSR) investigation.

Hemmera conducted a site assessment and developed a Conceptual Site Model, then completed a soil and groundwater investigation at areas of environmental concern. Hemmera’s Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment found that the mine contamination in non-core areas was not extensive; 10 of the 15 identified areas of environmental concern demonstrated no unacceptable risk to human or ecological receptors. Finally, Hemmera prepared a Remedial Action Plan (RAP). At the five areas of environmental concern with demonstrated risk, the RAP recommended site-specific remediation measures that could be conducted by mine site staff during the decommissioning of buildings and other non-core structures.

Our unique approach was successful in preventing an unnecessary allocation of resources. We completed four major tasks for significantly less money than Northgate Minerals might have spent to conduct full-scale investigation and remediation at all 15 of the non-core areas of environmental concern.

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The Kemess South mine site in northern BC is a large porphyry gold and copper open-pit mine that is scheduled for closure in 2011. Hemmera was engaged by Northgate Minerals to develop a closure plan for the non-core areas of site. Non-core areas are any areas within the mine site that are not directly related to mining activities, including buildings, fuel storage, and the mine camp.