Reclamation Workshop: Towards a Shared Foundation for Innovation and Evolution

Chris Powter
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Seventy-eight reclamation practitioners from government, industry, consulting, academia, and the services sector gathered in Edmonton on March 6, 2024, to highlight and discuss specific issues facing our industry, share potential improvement opportunities, and propose action items to develop solutions.
Workshop participants were asked to address four topic areas and were allowed the opportunity to add comments on other topics during the day.
Five common themes emerged from the discussions:

  1. Communication: Throughout the four sessions participants consistently flagged the need for greater communication between sectors, provinces, and practitioners.  Improved communication will require breaking down silos, changing our view of proprietary information, and acknowledging that while each sector or province has unique issues, many common ones would benefit from a shared knowledge base.
  2. Shared Responsibility: All stakeholders need to be involved to get buy-in for current and new practices and regulatory requirements.  This means we must go beyond the traditional big-three stakeholders (government, industry, and consultants) and embrace landowners, service and equipment providers, and equipment operators.  In addition, greater participation by Rights Holders was flagged as critical.
  3. Maximizing Data Value: Participants identified numerous opportunities to maximize the value of data residing in government databases through data mining projects.  Data in OneStop was specifically mentioned, as were the applications and annual reports supplied to EPA related to EPEA-approved activities.
  4. Education and Training: The advent of new technologies, loss of corporate memory, and entry of new staff all lead to the need for more training, in academic institutions and on the job.  The CLRA has an essential role in this space through its traditional role in providing conferences, Lunch N Learn sessions, weekly news updates, and the Canadian Reclamation magazine.  Participants flagged other roles and communication methods the CLRA could adopt to support ongoing education and training.
  5. Change: Participants noted that regulatory requirements, stakeholder expectations, and technology constantly change.  Depending on your point of view, this either provides opportunities for developing and deploying new methods and tools or will consume time and resources that would be better spent doing reclamation.  Change will happen no matter what your point of view is, so we must figure out a way to adapt.