Giant Mine newsletter: March to April 2021

A regular update from the Giant Mine Remediation Project team.

On this page

Engagement update

Information about the project's recent and upcoming engagement activities.

Annual update meetings

Meetings looked a little different this year because of public health restrictions on gatherings. This included the Giant Mine Remediation Project's annual update meeting.

We provided our annual update to the Yellowknife City Council via city council's virtual meeting platform on March 1, 2021. We also used a virtual webinar format to host the Giant Mine Remediation Project's annual public forum on March 2, 2021.

During the webinar, we presented on range of topics including:

  • work that happened on site in 2020
  • engagement activities in 2020
  • work expected to move forward in 2021
  • engagement expected in 2021
  • a socio-economic update from the project

Roughly 50 households logged into the meetings on their computers, including members of the North Slave Métis Alliance and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

The webinar included the chance to ask us questions by:

  • writing in the chat
  • asking a question out loud to the group

At the end of the forum, participants were polled about the meeting format. Most people indicated that they liked in-person meetings more but that the webinar forum worked well. We're committed to resuming face-to-face meetings with rights holders and stakeholders once it's safe and we're allowed to do so.

Aquatics engagement

The Aquatics Advisory Committee will be restarting its meetings at the end of April 2021. The aquatics engagement is looking at how the project can make Baker Creek healthier and safer. The participants will also talk about proposed changes to Yellowknife Bay, such as an in-water tailings cover that extends into the bay. It also includes talking about the requirements Fisheries and Oceans Canada will have for fish and fish habitat, and how we'll measure success. We continue to engage on the aquatics environment with rights holders and stakeholders at other regular meetings such as:

  • Giant Mine Working Group
  • community meetings , when they can be held safely in person again, with
    • Yellowknives Dene First Nation members
    • North Slave Métis Alliance members

Update on the health effects monitoring program in Yellowknife, Ndılǫ and Dettah

In response to the COVID-19 health measures, the Health Effects Monitoring Program team had to cancel all travel and in-person community meetings as of March 2020. The team commits to restarting activities, such as follow-up testing for people with higher metal levels. The team will restart these activities as soon as it's safe to do so.

In the meantime, the program's team developed communication resources to share in:

  • Yellowknife
  • Ndılǫ
  • Dettah

In March 2021, they sent out a brochure about the latest study results to all mail boxes in Yellowknife. They also provided additional copies to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the North Slave Métis Alliance for their membership.

Get a copy of the brochure: Arsenic in our communities (PDF, 6.7 Mb).

For more detailed information about the study: 2020 progress report available online (PDF, 5.65 Mb).

Later this year, the program team will begin planning for the 2022/23 sample collection. This sampling program will be for child participants only. They'll be measured at the 5 and 10 year mark. The program will also sample adults again at the 10 year mark. The program will finalize all plans only after having extensive consultations with:

  • rights holders
  • stakeholders
  • the community

Site update

A frozen creek on the Giant Mine site showing signs of thawing on the surface. A rocky outcrop partially covered in snow is visible in the background.
A photo of Baker Creek taken in 2020, while monitoring for freshet.

Actions to stabilize the underground in recent years have greatly reduced the risk of it being flooded by Baker Creek. However, the creek continues to be closely monitored, especially around the spring thaw from April into June.

Preparing for spring flooding also includes checking and maintaining pumps on site.

As we begin implementing the closure and reclamation plan, we continue to have monitoring and preventative measures in place. For example, we have heavy equipment available to excavate ice out of the creek, and further upstream if needed, to prevent the creek from:

  • jamming
  • overflowing beyond its channel
  • potentially picking up and transporting contaminated soils downstream or into Back Bay

The care and maintenance contractor also walks the Baker Creek shoreline to:

  • monitor the flow levels
  • inspect for ice jams

Procurement update

Parsons Inc., the main construction manager for the project, is committed to Indigenous training, employment, subcontracting and other opportunities involving Indigenous citizens and businesses in carrying out the work of this project. This includes the tendering of contracts to implement the first remediation work packages, which the project refers to as the "early works."

Early works packages and other work packages Parsons will tender this year include:

All bid solicitations include the requirement for bidders to stipulate their Indigenous opportunities considerations commitment. As well, some work packages are set aside and tendered through the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Businesses.

Get more information about contracting opportunities, such as advance notice of forthcoming tender processes, on the main construction manager website.

Recently awarded work packages

The following includes information about contracts the main construction manager has awarded.

Winter drilling program

Parsons awarded the sub-contract to carry out a winter drilling program on Great Slave Lake to the Northern Indigenous joint venture Earth Drilling Co. Ltd/Det'on Cho Management LP. This project provided critical information about the lake bed and its ability to bear weight. This will help the project team design the proposed tailings cover and the outfall location for the new water treatment plant.

The contract was:

  • valued at $1,054,378
  • for the period of March 1 to July 31, 2021

Part of the company's bid included commitments to Indigenous opportunities considerations, such as:

  • 825 hours of training
  • 50% of the labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 50% of the labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff

Recently finished work packages

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

Visit previous editions of our newsletter to learn more about subcontracts awarded and work packages:

The work packages below have also closed. They include packages that haven't had their final contract values adjusted. Please note, the values reflected below were rounded.

Surface care and maintenance

An effluent treatment plant on an industrial site.

Using a competitive tender process under the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business, Parsons awarded the contract for surface care and maintenance to a Northern Indigenous joint venture, Det'on Cho Nuna Joint Venture.

The contract was:

  • valued at $13,491,000
  • for the period of June 15, 2018 to March 31, 2021

Part of the company's bid included commitments to Indigenous opportunities considerations, such as:

  • 250 hours of training
  • 39% of the labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 85% of the subcontracting dollar value to be to Indigenous companies

Effluent treatment plant (ETP) operations

Parsons awarded Northern Indigenous joint venture Det'on Cho Construction Services / BluMetric Environmental Inc. the contract to run the effluent treatment plant. The contract was:

  • valued at $1,812,750
  • for the period of May 27, 2020 to October 31, 2020

Part of the company's bid included commitments to Indigenous opportunities considerations, such as:

  • 2,680 hours of training
  • 35% of the labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff

Surface and groundwater monitoring

Parsons awarded the contract for monitoring surface and groundwater to Dillon Consulting. The current contract was:

  • valued at $1,527,000
  • for the period of May 6, 2019 to March 31, 2021

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

  • 556 hours of training
  • 3% of the subcontracting dollar value to be to Indigenous companies

Ambient air quality monitoring

A metal cylinder that holds air quality monitoring equipment, with a chain link fence visible behind it.

Parsons awarded the contract to conduct the project's air quality monitoring was awarded to SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd. The contract was:

  • valued at $3,212,340
  • for the period of January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021

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

  • 60 hours of training
  • 31% of the labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 12% of the subcontracting dollar value to be to Indigenous companies

Regulatory update

Our work to update management, monitoring, and design plans, as required under our water licence and land use permit, continues. Plans submitted to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board will be:

The Arsenic Trioxide Frozen Shell Management and Monitoring Plan, the Freeze Containment Design Plan, and the Water Management and Monitoring Plan were submitted for public review through this process. We thank reviewers who submitted comments to the board for our review. Our responses to those comments will be made available on the public registry.

In March, the following management and monitoring plans were submitted for public review:

The project has submitted the following design plans for public review:

Learn more about the regulatory process and how to participate: November to December 2020 newsletter.

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