The Canadian Land Reclamation Association - Ontario Chapter has announced the winners of the 2020 Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Industry Award and Student Bursary. The annual awards were established in 2007 to encourage the pursuit of excellence in mine reclamation and to recognize and promote, to the mining industry and environmental community at large, outstanding achievement in the practice of mine reclamation in Ontario. 

This year’s industry prize went to Kirkland Lake Gold’s Detour Lake Mine for their project entitled The Detour Lake Mine Research and Progressive Reclamation Program. With a projected life of mine to 2040 (or longer), the Detour Lake Mine initiated, in 2012, a progressive reclamation effort, supported by a long-term multidisciplinary research program. The extensive efforts of this program continue to address several aspects critical to successful mine reclamation, including ecosystem restoration with native species and the management of metal leaching and acid rock drainage from mine waste materials. The results of the ongoing studies continue to guide the evolution of the on-site reclamation research program. The research program has not only led to the development and initiation of the full-scale progressive reclamation program at Detour Lake Mine, but it has also contributed knowledge to industry-wide mine reclamation practices in general. 

“Kirkland Lake Gold is extremely proud to be the recipient of the prestigious Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Industry Award,” said Mohammed Ali, Vice President, Environment, at Kirkland Lake Gold. “It is a testament to the hard work and careful attention we put towards reclamation and closure that incorporates valuable input from our Indigenous communities. We look forward to continuing our leadership in this aspect to be considered a role model with respect to protecting the lands on which we operate.” 

In addition to the industry award, the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association, together with the Ontario Mining Association, the Ontario Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines, and Vale, present an annual bursary that honours Tom Peters' significant contribution to furthering the field of mine reclamation and his commitment to students. The $5,000 student bursary (generously funded by Vale) is intended to encourage the pursuit of excellence in mine reclamation and to foster the training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) in mining and the environment. It goes to a full-time graduate student, who shows outstanding achievement in the field, and whose research is linked to mine reclamation activities at an Ontario mine site.

In 2020, the winning student is Jonathan Lavigne. Jonathan is currently a first year PhD student in the Boreal Ecology program at Laurentian University, under the primary supervision of Dr. Nathan Basiliko. Jonathan’s PhD research focuses on the introduction of novel reclamation strategies to improve soil fertility in mining impact areas, encompassing both smelter impacted lands and legacy aggregate mining sites. The award will be used to enhance both geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical analysis components of Jonathan’s research. 

According to Bryan Tisch, Vice-President of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association, “Competition was very stiff this year, with four excellent submissions.” We thank all candidates and remain committed to supporting the continuation of Tom Peters’ legacy by recognizing and encouraging excellence in industry reclamation practices and related research.