Taseko Mines’s Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation has been awarded the prestigious Jake McDonald Annual Award for Metal Mine Reclamation from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR).
TRCR’s annual BC Mine Reclamation Awards, which recognises outstanding achievement in mine reclamation in British Columbia, was held on September 23, 2020.
The aim of Gibraltar’s reclamation research program is continual improvement by identifying and introducing leading-edge ideas within the field of environmental science in mine reclamation, it says. With this goal in mind, projects at Gibraltar include:
- Sampling of salmon from the Fraser River in partnerships with the Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council to provide information to local Indigenous communities regarding the safety of consuming salmon captured at traditional fishing sites;
- Studying and using innovative technologies to determine how reclamation activities promote the development and recovery of biological communities; and
- Supporting BCIT, SFU, and Mitacs master’s students in a trial research program to expedite the development of soil microbial crust, specifically at the tailings storage facility.
Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said: “The Jake McDonald Award is the top mine reclamation award in British Columbia, a province that has a large mining industry. This achievement reflects the hard work of many talented people and we are honoured to have been chosen as this year’s recipient. The award adds to our track record of achievement which includes other recognition awards for employee safety and community service.”
Russell Hallbauer, CEO and Director of Taseko, added: “Gibraltar has been operating for nearly 50 years, generating opportunity for people and economic benefit for communities in the Cariboo. The efforts of our Gibraltar employees continue to be rewarded by achievements like this high-profile award. It is gratifying to see their talent and ingenuity being recognised at the highest levels. Gibraltar is proof of mining sustainability in action.
“We would specifically like to acknowledge the local Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council Fisheries Department for their partnership and traditional knowledge in the annual Fraser River salmon sampling program. As well as a thank you to the Xatśūll First Nations reclamation crew, whose participation has contributed to the success of Gibraltar’s reclamation program.”
Xatśūll First Nations Chief, Sheri Sellars, said: “I am proud of the work Xatśūll First Nation community members have done in partnership with Taseko-Gibraltar. The fish sampling program and the reclamation work have been award-winning successes. Our members have also benefitted from employment opportunities and educational initiatives which stem from our relationship with Gibraltar.”
Taseko, the 75% owner of Gibraltar, restarted the operation in 2004. It is the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada and the largest employer in the Cariboo region, according to the company.