The Ruttan mine, located approximately 1,000 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near Leaf Rapids, has been closed since 2002. Remediation work, which began in 2006, diverts clean water away from tailings and diverts impacted water to an open collection pit so contaminants can be removed before the water is discharged. The work also included covering exposed materials in tailings management areas with clay, peat and grass to reduce the risk of contaminants entering the air and water. The province will continue to treat water and monitor the site to ensure environmental standards are maintained at this location. At its peak, this multi-year project at the Ruttan Mine created more than 50 local jobs in northern Manitoba.
Orphaned and abandoned mines in Manitoba are legacy mines that operated under older environmental and mining legislation using practices that were not known at the time to be harmful to the environment. Today, mining companies are required to obtain Environment Act licences, develop closure plans and provide financial securities in advance of starting projects in the event that government has to step in to clean up the site.
The program to rehabilitate orphaned and abandoned mines was developed to responsibly assess, identify, and manage environmental, human health and safety hazards which occur following the abandonment of mine sites in Manitoba. The program remediates, mitigates or manages contamination from entering soil, air and water and returns the site to a state suitable for future use.
Recognizing the significant impact of orphaned and abandoned mines in Manitoba on the environment, in 2022, the Manitoba government pledged an additional investment of approximately $50 million over the next two years to accelerate further the remediation and rehabilitation of sites.