Mine Design, Operations & Closure Conference
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Mine Design, Operations & Closure Conference

2017 Sponsors

  • Motherlode Sponsors
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Montana Department of Environmental Quality
  • USDA Forest Service
  • Montana Tech
  • Platinum Sponsors
  • Hecla Mining Company
  • Pioneer Technical Services
  • Tetra Tech
  • Gold Sponsors
  • Barrick-Golden Sunlight Mine
  • CDM Smith, Inc.
  • Foam Concepts LLC
  • Stillwater Mining Co.
  • Silver Sponsors
  • ERO Resources Corporation
    Hydrometrics, Inc.
  • Kennecott Exploration Co.
  • Morrison-Maierle, Inc.
    Newmont Mining Co.
  • Pace Analytical Services
  • Pacific Inter-Mountain Distribution, LLC
  • Spectrum Engineering & Environmental LLC
  • Trihydro Corporation
  • Copper Sponsors
  • ACZ Laboratories
  • Amec Foster Wheeler
  • ARCADIS U.S., Inc.
  • Cascade Earth Sciences
  • Energy Laboratories
  • ERM
  • Montana Resources LLP
  • Montgomery & Associates
  • Rocky Mountain Bio Products
  • Water & Environmental Technologies LLC
  • Weave Consulting


Sunday, May 7 (Short Course)

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Lunch provided

Natural Processes for the Restoration of Drastically Disturbed Sites

Natural processes have been restoring natural disturbances since the beginning of time. This full-day workshop will explore how these natural processes can be applied to the restoration of sites that humans have disturbed to greatly reduce the cost of restoration. Traditional reclamation treatments can be costly and fail to generate the ecological goods and services that were lost during the disturbance of the site. This workshop will look at how disturbed sites can be re-integrated with the natural successional processes that operate to create productive, self-sustaining ecosystems. We will look at common constraints (filters) to recovery – erosion, compaction, low nutrients, lack of propagules, herbivory, etc. and how natural systems solve these problems. We will explore practical methods of applying these solutions to anthropogenic disturbances often at a fraction of the cost of some current reclamation practices. Specific details will be provided to address issues that are commonly found at mines and industrial sites (e.g. compaction, steep slopes, adverse soil texture, toxic materials and lack of organic matter or “soils”). The course will include a brief overview of monitoring and maintenance strategies.

Instructor: David F. Polster, M.Sc., R.P. Bio., Polster Environmental Services, Ltd.
David Polster is a plant ecologist with almost 40 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He is the past-president (third term) of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association. He is the treasurer for the B.C. Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is on the board of the International Society for Ecological Restoration. He served as the alternate mining representative on the board of the Invasive Species Council of B.C. for 9 years.

Monday, May 8 (Tour)

Tour: Anaconda Uplands: 100 Years of Industrial Heritage; 30 years of Cleanup


  • John Koerth, Patrick Plantenberg, & Joel Chavez, Montana DEQ
  • Greg Mullen, Natural Resource Damage Program
  • Charlie Coleman & Ken Brockman, US EPA
  • Shannon Dunlap, ARCO
  • Rich Prodgers, Bighorn Environmental Sciences
  • David Polster, Polster Environmental Services, Ltd.
  • Brian Shovers, Historian
  • Pedro Marques, PM EcoLogic, LLC

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (The bus will depart from the front entrance of Fairmont; however, please check in at the conference registration desk before boarding.)

Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided to all attendees.

Tour guides will summarize the 100-plus years of technological heritage associated with smelting and refining the Butte, world-class, mineral deposit in the Anaconda, Montana, area. Participants will tour:

  • Emission-impacted upland sites containing low pH soils and high metal values;
  • Innovative reclamation treatments on upland sites, industrial facilities, town sites, and tailings ponds; and
  • Preserved historical features, including Anaconda Smelter Stack.

Participants will be encouraged to discuss alternative reclamation strategies.

Disclaimer: Participants will be touring a Superfund site on state and private lands. PPE (hard hats, safety glasses, and safety vests) will be required. Please feel free to bring along your own equipment; however, if you do not have any, PPE will be provided. Be cautioned that tour participants will be walking on contaminated soils. Appropriate footwear should be worn. In addition, please dress appropriately for an outside tour. Although the tour is scheduled for May, the weather may still be somewhat cold. Please be prepared for various outside elements.

Tuesday - Thursday, May 9-11 (General Session)