This paper stems from a collaborative research project between the N. B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and was supported by the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. One of the aims of the study was to evaluate community-level socio-demographic, health and economic changes among BC mining communities during a specific decade marked by a downturn in the mining sector (from 1991 to 2001). As part of the study, researchers engaged various mine and community stakeholders associated with the project to discuss findings and to introduce the concept of working towards a collaborative mining community sustainability plan. Involved in this research process was the northern remote coal mining community of Tumbler Ridge, Canada. This municipality is to date the last community in the western Canadian province of British Columbia to be developed for the purpose of supporting coal mining. Incorporated in 1981, this community has undergone significant transformations coinciding with variations in levels of mining activity. For example, during peak coal production, mining employed over 1,500 individuals (close to 40% of total population). The global decline in coal prices in the late 1990s resulted in the premature closure of one regional mine in 2000, and coincided with a population loss for Tumbler Ridge of over 50%. As a result of population decline, health and social services to that community were also cut. Post-mining, Tumbler Ridge became a destination for retirement, and diversified into the tourism sector. Renewed mining interest has now presented both opportunities and challenges for this remote community. This paper presents the community of Tumbler Ridge as a case study for how mine closure can impact communities. It also presents a model for stakeholder engagement that can be used or adapated for mine closure planning.
Shandro, J. A., Veiga, M. M., Scoble, M., & Koehoorn, M. (2010). Strategic planning for mine closure: Community sustainability experiences in northern British Columbia, Canada. In A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, & J. Wiertz (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Viña del Mar (pp. 227-237).