to rehabilitate mining sites has significantly
increased since the beginning of the 1990’s
due to efforts of industry and government.
In supporting industry, the gouvernement du Québec
has injected more than $30 million into research,
work, and financial assistance to rehabilitate
mining residue accumulation areas. The significant
effort invested in this regard have, in particular,
made it possible to implement measures aiming
at the protection of the environment.
Moreover, since 1995, the regulatory
provisions of the Mining Act require
mining companies to submit and have approved a
rehabilitation plan for mining sites in operation.
To facilitate the drafting of rehabilitation plans,
the Department, with the collaboration of the
Ministère de l´Environnement, produced
Guidelines for Preparing a Mining Site Rehabilitation
Plan and General Mining Site Rehabilitation Requirements,
which specifies the requirements to be complied
with when rehabilitating sites, the plan contents,
and the steps leading to the approval.
The program for rehabilitating
mining sites retroceded to the Government is indisputably
the most important governmental program. Indeed,
it has required investments totalling $20 million
out of the $30 million invested and provided
for the rehabilitation of 11 sites. In the past,
mine tailing deposits were unfortunately considered
as being harmless, whereas, in reality, they are
often the cause of the contamination problems
we are facing today.
Since, for all practical purposes,
the rehabilitation of the mining sites given back
to the province is completed, the Department must
now turn to the problem of abandoned sites. Currently,
Québec has still a hundred abandoned accumulation
areas to be rehabilitated at an estimated cost
of more or less $100 million.