Giant Mine newsletter: November to December 2020

Get the most recent updates on the Giant Mine remediation project.

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Understanding the water licence and land use permit

The Giant Mine Remediation Project is now operating under:

These documents are issued to the project by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board to allow the project to use water and deposit waste in implementation of the Giant Mine Closure and Reclamation Plan.

The project is updating its management and monitoring plans. These plans are needed under the licence and permit. They show how we're being protective of:

They also show how we're managing:

Once submitted, these management and monitoring plans are:

The project expects to submit the first plans in December 2020.

Register for an account through the board's online review system. By registering for an account, you can:

Search for and select the licence and permit numbers listed above in the public registry to find information about the Giant Mine Remediation Project.

To stay up to date on the project's regulatory process, subscribe on the board's public registry.

Stay safe near the site

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team is committed to protecting the safety of workers, the public and the environment on and around the Giant Mine site.

As we move into the winter recreation months, the team reminds area users that public access to this contaminated site isn't allowed. This includes the former Highway 4 between the Giant Mine Marina and Vee Lake Road.

When near the mine, please respect:

The Government of Canada monitors the site 24 hours a day to ensure the security and protection of the public.

Engagement update

Baker Creek engagement

The Aquatic Advisory Committee had it's first in depth meetings on September 17 and 18, 2020. The meetings focused on Baker Creek.

Baker Creek was a key fishing and berry-picking area before the development of Giant Mine. The draft design for the remediation of Baker Creek was developed from 2012 to 2020. It included many recommendations from rights holder and stakeholder input and comments, including Traditional Knowledge. For example, the remediation of Baker Creek's design was influenced by Traditional Knowledge, which helped inform the committee that the creek needed to accommodate a large flood.

The project team:

  • recognizes Baker Creek's importance to local Indigenous communities
  • is working hard to improve its condition

The Aquatic Advisory Committee is a group made up of:

  • rights holders
  • stakeholders

Members give input and recommendations to the team about things like:

  • native fish species that belong in Baker Creek
  • native vegetation species that belong in Baker Creek
  • the composition of the bottom substrate, such as sand and gravel
  • ideas for how the project team can measure the success of remediation

The project team is keen to make more remediation plans based on these and other engagement sessions. Sessions were held in November and December. Another session is scheduled for January.

During the sessions, participants have a chance to talk about Yellowknife Bay remediation in the Giant Mine site area.

Perpetual care plan engagement

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team continues to work toward finishing a perpetual care plan for the site. This includes forming an advisory task force, made up of members representing each of the signatories of the Environmental Agreement.

This task force started meeting in November 2019. They undertook a lot of work on validating and finalizing a perpetual care plan framework, which was submitted to the Giant Mine Oversight Board at the end of November 2020. Once their review is finished, next steps include a request for proposal to further develop the perpetual care plan according to the framework.

Hoèła Weteèts'eèdeè: Overcoming Hardships from Giant Mine (formerly known as the stress study)

Wilfrid Laurier University's Dr. Shankardass and his partners with the Yellowknife Dene First Nation keep moving forward to develop the health study. The study measures how Giant Mine affected the stress and resiliency of people who live in the Yellowknife area.

In August 2020, the study team finished a test pilot of the survey that's part of Hoèła Weteèts'eèdeè: Overcoming Hardships from Giant Mine. The study team is finalizing applications for ethics approvals; a step all universities need to do for studies involving human participants. Once ethics approvals are in place, they hope to roll out the study in early 2021.

Please note: Covid-19 restrictions and considerations may impact the start of this research.

Training on the project: profiles of success

Sky Lennie, Environmental Technician

Sky Lennie joined the Parsons' team working on the Giant Mine Remediation Project in October 2020 as an environmental technician. She was born in Wrigley, a 140-person community in the Deh Cho area of the NWT known as Pedzéh Kı̨́ or "Clay place."

After graduating from high school in Yellowknife, Lennie worked for the Det'on Cho Corporation, now known as Det'on Management LP. The company supported her taking 3 programs with them in 6 months. These included:

  • the environmental monitoring coordinator program, where she:
    • observed the environmental impact of industrial activity
    • learned how to communicate the information
  • the contaminated site remediation coordinator program
  • the environmental site assistant program

Taking these courses confirmed that her passion and joy was the journey she was being led to take. Later, Lennie found work in Yellowknife with Golder Associates Ltd. at the Giant Mine site in support of the hydrologists. This inspired her to work more towards the water side of the environmental field. "It seems like it was meant to be," she said. "To do something you love every day and excited to go to work. It's a sign that I'm moving in the right direction."

Lennie is working toward getting the science credits to apply for college or university, to pursue more of this type of work.

Photography of Sky Lennie standing in front of a rock face with a waterfall flowing down either side of her.
Sky Lennie, environmental technician

SLR Consulting's commitment to training and support for Indigenous employees

SLR Consulting is proud to have a strong local Indigenous presence on their air quality team for the Giant Mine Remediation Project. One of 3 local team members, Alan Harman, has more than 10,000 safe hours on the air quality monitoring program. This commitment led to opportunities for him to work on other projects in:

SLR was happy to take part in a session about air quality monitoring with members of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation who're enrolled in the Building Environmental Aboriginal Human Resources (BEAHR) environmental monitoring training program.

SLR's participation resulted in:

SLR looks forward to continuing and expanding on their role in supporting opportunities given by the Giant Mine Remediation Project air quality monitoring program to Indigenous workers for many years to come.

Procurement update

Since becoming the main construction manager for the Giant Mine Remediation Project, the Parsons Inc. team awarded many contracts for work needed to keep the site safe and stable.

A summary of subcontracts awarded by Parsons since April 2018 is below. Please note, the values reflected were rounded.

Underground care and maintenance

Parsons hired a Northern Indigenous joint venture called Det'on Cho Procon Joint Venture to carry out the underground care and maintenance at the site. The contract is:

  • valued at $24,162,350
  • for the period of June 15, 2018 to March 31, 2022

As part of its contract extension, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 1,000 hours of training
  • 20% of the required labour will be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 50% of the subcontracting dollar value will be provided to Indigenous companies
Photograph of the silhouette of a person in personal protective equipment in an underground mine tunnel. The tunnel is hollowed out rock with wires and pipes along the top.

Site security

Northern Indigenous joint venture Det'on Cho Scarlet Security Ltd. Joint Venture was awarded the contract to provide on-site security. The contract:

As part of its contract extension, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 328 hours of training
  • 70% of the labour needed will be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 100% of the subcontracting dollar value will be to Indigenous companies

Northwest pump: pump commissioning

Parsons awarded a contract to Northern Indigenous company Denesoline/Ryfan Ltd. to:

  • procure the deep-well pumping system
  • be present during the installation by another subcontractor

The contract is valued at $8,090.

Laboratory testing services: effluent treatment plant and pilot plant

Northern company Taiga Environmental Laboratory was awarded:

  • the contract to conduct laboratory tests for the operation of the effluent treatment plant
  • the pilot plant the project used to help develop the new water treatment plant

The contract is:

  • valued at $463,100
  • for the period of June 20, 2018 to March 31, 2022

Laboratory testing services: medical monitoring

Parsons hired Northern company ALS Environmental to carry out laboratory testing for the project's medical monitoring program.

The contract is:

  • valued at $582,090
  • for the period of June 25, 2018 to March 31, 2022

Website development

Northern company Outcrop Communications was awarded the web development contract for Parson's Giant Mine Remediation Project website.

The contract is:

  • valued at $23,740
  • for the period of April 10, 2018 to March 31, 2022
Photograph of air quality monitoring equipment with the top is opened to read instrumentation. The equipment is on a wooden deck with trees in the background.

Recently completed work packages

Below is a breakdown of work packages completed in:

Work packages that haven't had their final contract values adjusted are also included. Please note, the values reflected below have been rounded.

Northwest pump: electrical commissioning

Purcee Electric was:

  • awarded a contract to install the electrical components of the deep-well pumping system
  • required to be present during the installation of the pumping system by another subcontractor

The contract is valued at $53,230.

Site security

Parsons awarded Northern Indigenous company Det'on Cho Scarlet Security Ltd. Joint Venture the last site security contract. The project was:

  • valued at $1,830,255
  • tendered in a competitive process through the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business
  • for the period of June 15, 2018 to March 31, 2020

Part of the company's bid included commitments to Indigenous opportunities considerations. These included:

  • 1,500 hours of training
  • 51% of the required labour would be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 51% of the subcontracting dollar value would be to Indigenous companies

Materials: aggregate

Det'on Cho Landtran Transport Ltd, a Northern Indigenous company, was awarded the contract to provide aggregate material for different uses on site.

As part of its bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments. This included:

  • a commitment that 100% of the required labour would be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 100% of the subcontracting dollar value would be to Indigenous companies

The final contract was:

  • valued at $198,300
  • for the period of July 5, 2019 to March 31, 2020

Security fencing

Parsons awarded a contract valued at $259,800 for Paul Bros Nextreme Inc., a Northern Indigenous company, to:

  • supply and install temporary security:
    • fencing
    • barriers
    • signage
  • relocate and install existing signage and fencing at the site

The tender was:

  • competed through the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business
  • for the period of March 11, 2019 to May 15, 2019

As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 722 hours of training
  • 100% of the labour needed would be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 100% of the subcontracting dollar value would be to Indigenous companies

The final contract value will be adjusted based on close-out documentation.

Northwest Pump Installation

Northern company Nahanni Construction Ltd. was awarded the contract to install a deep-well pumping system in 2 deep boreholes, replacing the existing underground pumping station. The pump discharges into the North West pond, but is located underground.

The contract was:

  • valued at $1,739,600
  • for the period of October 15, 2018 to February 15, 2019

Final contract value will be adjusted based on close-out documentation.

Effluent Treatment Plant Operations

Pure Elements Environmental Solutions was awarded the last contract to operate the effluent treatment plant.

The contract was:

  • valued at $1,312,000
  • for the period of June 15, 2018 to March 31, 2020

As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 8,234 hours of training
  • 83% of the labour needed would be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 72% of the subcontracting dollar value would be to Indigenous companies

Final contract value will be adjusted based on close-out documentation.

Effluent Treatment Pilot Plant

Parsons awarded the contract to run a pilot program for the new water treatment plant to Pure Elements Environmental Solutions.

The contract was:

  • valued at $132,580
  • for the period of May 24, 2018 to June 20, 2018

As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 808 hours of training
  • 90.9% of the labour needed would be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 99.5% of the subcontracting dollar value would be to Indigenous companies

Final contract value will be adjusted based on close-out documentation.

Tailings Rehabilitation Drilling

Boart Longyear Canada was awarded a contract to complete drilling activities in the Tailings Containment Area, such as collecting samples and installing groundwater wells at various locations around the site.

The contract was:

  • valued at $2,052,800
  • for the period of March 29, 2019 to March 31, 2020

As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 25% of the labour needed would be carried out by Indigenous staff

Final contract value will be adjusted based on close-out documentation.

Materials: ferric sulphate

Parsons awarded Univar Canada a contract to provide ferric sulphate for the project. Ferric sulphate is a necessary reagent for the operation of the Effluent Treatment Plant.

The final contract was:

  • valued at $382,900
  • for the period of September 11, 2019 to December 31, 2019

Ambient Air Quality Monitoring

The previous air quality monitoring of the site was contracted to SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd, novated from Public Service and Procurement Canada to Parsons. It was valued at $9,030,350. The contract was for to for the period of June 5, 2014 to December 31, 2019. As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments. This included a commitment that 59% of the required labour would be conducted by Indigenous staff.

Site Communications

Global Storm IT Corporation was awarded a contract to provide services to assess:

  • existing voice and data infrastructure
  • related technologies

The contract was:

  • valued at $6,000
  • for the period of November 9, 2018 to November 30, 2018

As part of its successful bid, the company made Indigenous opportunities considerations commitments, such as:

  • 33% of the labour needed would be carried out by Indigenous staff

Materials: hydrated lime

Parsons awarded Univar Canada with a contract to provide hydrated lime, a necessary reagent for the operation of the effluent treatment Plant.

The final contract was:

  • valued at $732,400
  • for the period of August 6, 2018 to October 31, 2018

Access agreement for the townsite area

In September 2020, an agreement was reached about access to the land leased by the City of Yellowknife between:

The City of Yellowknife has a 30-year lease with the GNWT for the townsite area. They later subleased portions of this area to:

The 3 parties worked on a trilateral access agreement to make sure the project could remediate the:

The trilateral agreement:

In the agreement, the project team commits to making sure there's unrestricted water access during remediation. The project team will:

This enhanced boat launch will stay open while public boat launch area is closed for soil and sediment remediation. In addition, the Government of the Northwest Territories agreed to accept responsibility and liability with respect to managing the townsite. This will make sure there's continuing public access to the water (that is, Back Bay of Great Slave Lake).

Holiday well wishes

As 2020 comes to a close and a new year begins, there are new beginnings for the project to look forward to. Now that the water license is in place, work can begin in earnest in 2021.

As we move into this new phase for the site, the project team looks forward to continuing to work with:

We thank all who've worked to get us this far and wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

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