Collaborating with a First Nation to heal the land and a community

The Bralorne-Takla mercury mine operated during the Second World War before being abandoned. The provincial government gave us the mandate to remediate and reclaim it. We collaborated closely with the province and the Takla Nation to successfully deliver this project. Together, our work addressed the risks presented by mercury and other metals in both mine wastes and soils. To achieve this, hazardous (leachable) wastes and building materials were removed from site to a permitted facility, and a landfill was constructed to consolidate other wastes. The landfill was designed so that a forested ecosystem would return following initial planting with native species. These two key elements of the design were a result of a collaborative planning process with the Takla Nation.  

Our role on this historic project

Our work began with a risk-based detailed site investigation and hazardous building materials survey. It continued through risk assessment, permitting, remediation planning and execution. We also provided on-the-ground training/capacity building in environmental site assessment as well as environmental and construction monitoring. Additionally, we served as the Owner’s Representative during the construction and remediation activities performed by other groups. 

Keeping the community informed

The mine was built in the traditional territory of the Takla Nation, and while it operated for a short period of time, its impact lasted for generations. We understood the importance of keeping the community informed, so we designed and implemented a formal, multi-year engagement strategy to facilitate collaboration between the Province of BC and Takla Nation. Among other items, this strategy included: 

  • An information sharing agreement
  • Technical Working Group facilitation
  • Drafting of related Terms of Reference
  • Community workshops and meetings
  • Outreach materials
  • Options analysis for remediation, involving collection and integration of traditional ecological knowledge
  • Partnering with the Takla Nation to deliver site-related services and a Closure Ceremony
  • Commissioning, scoping and editing a documentary film
Working with the Takla Nation

It was important all parties that the site be properly remediated and reclaimed, and that the Takla Nation be involved in the work including site assessment, construction, and long-term monitoring. SNC-Lavalin’s partnership with the Takla Nation began in 2012 and included the hiring of environmental monitors from the community, some of whom continue to work on the site performing the long-term monitoring to confirm the effectiveness of the remediation design. We also collaborated closely with the Takla Nation to set objectives for the revegetation activities, select tree and seed species, and collect and propagate local seed stock. 

Revegetation was completed in the spring of 2017, and the Takla Nation held a closure ceremony a few months later that our team was privileged to be a part of. We remain involved in the environmental and geotechnical monitoring of the site, and we treasure our ongoing relationship with the local people.

SNC-Lavalin Inc. was contracted by the Crown Contaminated Sites Program of the Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, for the Bralorne-Takla Mine Remediation Project.

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