Keeping wildlife safe at Giant Mine

Information monitoring and protecting wildlife at the Giant Mine site

How does the Project team monitor wildlife?

The Project team is not only concerned with the safety of workers on site and the public; it is also important that wildlife and flora are protected from harm as well. Since the Giant Mine site is within Yellowknife's municipal boundaries, it has fewer wildlife concerns than mines sites in more remote locations. However, the Project team actively works to ensure wildlife on site is safe.

As part of regular wildlife monitoring, staff conduct track surveys to identify key habitats to ensure their avoidance and protection. Track surveys also provide an understanding of what species use the site and where.

Site workers log all wildlife they see and, and where needed, report it to the appropriate authority. While the presence of wildlife is a normal occurrence, personnel report larger animals, such as wolves and bears, to the Government of the Northwest Territories' Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the site's Environmental Coordinator for action when seen on a recurring basis. Personnel also report caribou sightings.

The Project team has also completed a habitat mapping exercise. This exercise provided descriptions of habitat types and land cover around the Giant Mine. This information helps with the understanding of land cover types, and supports contaminated soils mapping exercises; and supports future land-use decisions.

The information from the habitat mapping will support the development of a Wildlife Management Plan. This is a necessary element of the team's water licence application. The Main Construction Manager must have this Wildlife Management Plan in place during remediation. This way, workers know how to manage wildlife interactions. It will also minimize the potential for adverse effects.

This Wildlife Management Plan will be finalized before remediation can begin. It is expected to include measures such as:

A major concern the Project team has with about wildlife impacts is the uptake of arsenic in small animals with limited ranges. Several studies have been conducted and show impacts are occurring. However, these impacts have been inconsistent over the years. A study on muskrats in Baker Creek was conducted in the mid-2000s. The study did find elevated levels of arsenic in their tissue. The remediation of the site will prevent further contamination. It is also expected to reduce the uptake of arsenic going forward.

How does the Project team protect wildlife on site?

The Project takes action to protect wildlife at the site, including:

Further proposed actions to reduce impacts during the construction phase of remediation are discussed in the Report of Environmental Assessment. This is available on the Mackenzie Valley Review Board Public Registry.

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