Thompson Rivers University

Teck Highland Valley Copper donates $575K toward research on ecosystem reclamation

January 25, 2024

Pictured left to right: TRU Vice-President Research Shannon Wagner; NSERC Industrial Research Chair Lauchlan Fraser; Carly Bielecki, manager, Community and Indigenous Affairs, Teck HVC; TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn; Kim Lyle, senior co-ordinator Biodiversity, Reclamation and Closure, Teck HVC; Neil Sandstrom, superintendent of Environment, Teck HVC.

KAMLOOPS — Teck Highland Valley Copper is giving $575,000 to support industry-leading research on ecosystem reclamation headed by Lauchlan Fraser at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

“Today’s announcement marks another step forward in TRU’s commitment to pressing environmental research,” said TRU Vice-President Research Shannon Wagner. “Thank you to Teck Highland Valley Copper for being a valued collaborator and committing to scholarly work on industry practices.”

Fraser is an NSERC Industrial Research Chair and expert in grassland and wetland ecology whose research focuses on understanding BC Interior ecosystems so they can be quickly restored after natural environmental disturbances and resource extraction.

Restoring complex ecosystems requires coordination between government, academia, industry and Indigenous groups. Fraser and his team of researchers form TRU’s Centre for Ecosystem Reclamation, a leader in restoration management that is informing industry strategies for planning, implementing and managing ecosystem reclamation projects.

“This investment allows TRU to be at the forefront in the development of tools to help solve environmental disturbances—solutions that are more pressing than ever in the face of climate change,” Fraser said. “A new sense of urgency is pushing us into new areas of research to increase the speed with which we can restore disturbed landscapes.”

By donating $575,000, Teck Highland Valley Copper demonstrates its ongoing commitment to research on ecosystem recovery. The company was a key funding partner in establishing the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Ecosystem Reclamation at TRU in 2018.

“Teck Highland Valley Copper Operations is proud to support this important research that will provide valuable learnings to enhance reclamation techniques for the entire mining industry,” said Matt Parrilla, general manager, Teck Highland Valley Copper Operations. “Our support also aligns with our commitment to contribute to halting and reversing the global challenge of nature loss while responsibly producing the critical minerals essential for a low-carbon future.”

Fraser is currently working with post-graduate scholars Ghassen Chaieb and Jay Singh on restoration projects at Teck Highland Valley Copper. Chaieb is studying the use of different soil amendments to accelerate and enhance restoration success. Singh recently completed a historical study of the development of soil microbial communities on reclaimed mine sites at Highland Valley Copper.

“I am privileged to learn cutting-edge research in the field of restoration, and to actually see concrete results in the field with our industry partner,” Singh said.

Jessica Klymchuk, Senior Communications Consultant
Thompson Rivers University | 250-371-5697

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