Abandoned Mines Project Overview

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Large-scale mining operations in northern Canada undoubtedly brought capital and jobs, but the costs of such development were high. Many former mine sites have left not only a toxic legacy of tailings ponds and waste rock dumps, but also a history of social and economic dislocation that continues to disproportionately impact northern First Nations communities. Our research will examine the historical impacts of mining in northern Canada. The project has four main goals:

  • assess the economic consequences of mine closure for northern communities (capital flight, job losses, community collapse, disruption of traditional economies);
  • assess the social impacts of industrial mining on northern communities, particularly in the areas of community health, cultural adaptation and the impact of mining on women;
  • examine historical environmental impacts associated with industrial mining at a local and landscape scale, and analyse whether the historical siting of abandoned mines near indigenous communities can be interpreted within an environmental justice framework;
  • investigate local understandings of the historical physical and ecological changes resulting from mining activity as a prelude to developing community-driven strategies for balancing ecological restoration with the preservation of industrial heritage landscapes.

To answer these questions, we will be conducting extensive archival research, oral history interviews, community workshops, and community-based mapping.

Featured image: Abandoned mining equipment, Beattie Mine, Duparquet, Québec, 2020. Photo by Tinss on Wikimedia Commons.

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