January/February 2018: What's Happening at Giant?

Table of contents

Giant Mine Community Forum

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team's annual community forums are coming up! The Project team will be presenting the Closure and Reclamation Plan for the site. If you are interested in finding out how the team plans to remediate the site, we invite you to attend the forum for your community.

North Slave Métis Alliance Member Event
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
6:00–8:00 p.m.
NSMA Boardroom, Kam Lake
Dinner will be provided.

Yellowknives Dene First Nation Member Event
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Ndilo Gym
Dinner will be provided and is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Yellowknife Public Forum
Thursday, March 8, 2018
7:00–9:00 p.m.
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Café, Yellowknife
Refreshments will be provided.

Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment update

In January 2018, the Government of Canada finalized the report on the Giant Mine Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA). The report assessed whether the cleanup of the former mine site would change the risk to human health in the nearby communities. Before finalizing the report, in mid-October, the Project team was able to present the draft report of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA) to the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and Yellowknife community members. This allowed the Project team to incorporate feedback into the final report.

The image shows CanNorth consultant Stacey Fernandes presenting on the results of the HHERA. Yellowknife residents look on from tables in the Museum Café.
CanNorth consultant Stacey Fernandes speaks at the public meeting in Yellowknife.

The HHERA considered several potential ways people may be exposed to arsenic and other contaminants in the community. These included soil and dust, drinking water, wading in sediments, as well as eating country foods and medicinal plants from the local area. The HHERA estimated how much local foods residents eat and where they got the food. Information from country food samples collected by local residents was used in the HHERA. The report also considered how much grocery store food is eaten. The HHERA also considered the ways that wildlife may be exposed to arsenic and other contaminants on the Giant Mine site.

The HHERA determined that the contaminants in the surrounding area were from past releases from the Giant Mine. The human health risks of cancer associated with arsenic and other contaminants from past releases are low to very low, consistent with risks of a full body CT Scan or getting dental X-rays. The report found that the human health risks in the areas around Giant Mine are not likely to change after clean-up. The Ecological Risk Assessment found that the clean-up will improve environmental conditions on the Giant Mine; however, there could still be risks to small animals on the site. In Yellowknife Bay, low risks to small insects in the sediments were found, but these conditions will slowly get better over time.

The HHERA suggested the need for ongoing management and monitoring of the site. Copies of the final report are available from the Giant Mine Remediation Project team by contacting us at giantmine@aandc.gc.ca, or by calling (867) 669-2426.

More information on the remediation and ongoing management of the site will be found in the Closure and Reclamation Plan, a draft of which will be available in May 2018. The Project team will continue to inform the general public about upcoming opportunities to engage on the Plan over the course of the year in this newsletter.

Main Construction Manager Contract Award update

The Giant Mine Remediation Project's Main Construction Manager contract has been awarded to Parsons Inc., who will provide construction management services to the Giant Mine Remediation Project team over two terms.

Work completed in Term 1 centers around responsibility for site care and maintenance and emerging risks on site, and supporting planning efforts for the full remediation in Term 2. This work will take place from now until March 31, 2020 at a cost of up to $32 million.

In Term 2, set to begin in 2020, Parsons Inc. will oversee the implementation of the overall remediation plan and associated activities. This work will include various sub-contracts, providing opportunities for Indigenous peoples and Northerners. The cost estimate of Term 2 will be determined following design work undertaken in Term 1.

This contract is an important step in moving forward with the remediation of Giant Mine. For more information, visit Buy and Sell.

Meet the Project's New Engagement Manager

Aaron Braumberger
Aaron Braumberger

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team welcomes Aaron Braumberger to his new role as Acting Engagement Manager for the coming year. While new to this role, Aaron has worked on the Project team for nine years, focusing on environment, health and safety and risk management, supporting engagement activities, and working with others to ensure socio-economic aspects of the project are incorporated into project planning and procurement.

Aaron is originally from northern Saskatchewan and has a background in Geography in the North and Project Management. Before joining the Project team, he worked for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in their Northern Contaminated Sites Program as well as Specific Land Claims. Aaron looks forward to continuing to strengthen the relationships with our stakeholders and moving towards a remediated site.

A Bird's Eye View of Giant Mine

Screen caption of drone footage over the Giant Mine Complex
Screen cap of drone footage over the Giant Mine Complex

The Giant Mine property, including the townsite, is a contaminated site. The health and safety risks mean members of the public do not have access to the site. However, thanks to the Giant Mine Oversight Board, anyone can experience a bird's eye view of the property. Using a drone to capture video of the site in segments, the Board has now posted its 2017 footage for easy viewing.

2018/2019 Project Look Ahead

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team is gearing up for another busy year ahead. Over the coming months, expect to hear more from us about upcoming engagement activities, including work being done to kick off scoping the Stress Study as a complement to the HHERA as well as setting Effluent Quality Criteria, including criteria specific to Baker Creek.

We will also keep you up to date about how you can participate in events related to the Qualitative Risk Assessment, as well as upcoming work related to future opportunities to support the project when the remediation goes forward. Information about these and other engagement activities will continue to be available in the enewsletter. If you want to receive this via email, please subscribe by emailing GiantMine@aandc.gc.ca.

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