What's happening at Giant Mine? October 2021 to February 2022

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Site update

The following remediation work has taken place on site over the past few months:

Non-hazardous waste landfill

Excavation and construction of the first phase of the non-hazardous waste landfill took place over the fall. Contaminated soils were removed and clay and aggregate materials were placed to form the base and the berms of the non-hazardous waste landfill. Liners that protect the environment such as Geo-membranes, drainage pipes and ground water monitoring wells will be installed as final steps toward completion of the landfill construction in the coming years.

This phase of the non-hazardous waste landfill construction was completed in December 2021. The non-hazardous waste landfill will be used to dispose of non-hazardous waste such as demolition materials from on-site infrastructure, and will have a separate cell for holding processed waste materials from the water treatment plant.

Workers are fusing together sections of the liner into the bottom of the non-hazardous waste landfill as part of the design installation
Caption: Work being performed as part of the non-hazardous waste landfill construction in November, 2021.

AR1 freeze pad construction

Construction of 1 of the 4 freeze pads began in September 2021. Once completed, this pad will provide a level surface to which thermosyphons can be installed as part of the overall freeze program.

Work completed to date has included contaminated soils removal, drilling and blasting, installation of fish barriers because of its close location to Baker Creek and vibration monitoring equipment during the rock blasting portion of the work. As of December 31, 2021, blasting quantities for the AR1 freeze pad were 38,000 cubic metres. The pad is anticipated to be completed by summer 2022.

Excavation of blasted rock and contaminated soil during construction of AR1 freeze pad
Caption: Excavation machinery working to clear blasted rock and contaminated soil away as part of construction of the AR1 freeze pad.
A close-up view of Baker Creek, where blast vibration monitoring is taking place. AR1 freeze pad construction is pictured in the background
Caption: Blast vibration monitoring work at Baker Creek with AR1 freeze pad construction in the background.

Early works drilling

Early works drilling began on-site in June 2021 and is on-going. The main purpose of this drilling program is to drill the holes that will be used as part of the early works backfill contract, to place paste backfill into large underground openings.

Underground paste backfilling is necessary to help stabilize large underground openings, known as stopes, and greatly reduce the risk of having instabilities which could impact the ground at surface.

Drilling equipment and machinery working on site on the underground stabilization work. The landscape is covered in snow, and the sun is backlighting the trees in the background
Caption: Underground stabilization drilling work in November, 2021.

Underground snapshot

Ground support is being installed to allow safe access in the underground travelways. These underground travelways lead to the future construction areas of the barricades that will be constructed to contain the paste backfill in openings leading into those stopes.

Fans have been installed to circulate warm summer air to melt the ice that has formed in the drifts in the A shaft area. As part of future work, miners will make safe access to the voids below the A1 and A2 pits so that these voids can be backfilled and stabilized.

Earlier in the year, a new secondary egress out of the mine was established near C-Shaft.

Shotcrete walls and fans have also been installed on the levels close to C-Shaft to improve ventilation in the underground mine. Shotcrete is a concrete mixture that is sprayed onto the rock walls to prevent rock movement.

Procurement update

Golder Associated Ltd. provides engineering services for the Giant Mine Remediation Project. Part of Golder's Indigenous Opportunities Consideration plan is to work with the Mine Training Society to establish a set of awards that would be presented to students who complete the Underground Miner Program through the Mine Training Society or Aurora College. This plan commits to presenting 2 $1,000 awards per year.

The project is happy to report that Golder recently provided 2 awards to Mine Training Society students. This is a positive step to enable individuals in the community to be able to take advantage of this opportunity for development, and is another great example of the efforts being made to build local capacity as the project moves forward.

Changes to the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business

The project encourages socio-economic opportunities for Indigenous and Northern businesses and workers through the use of 2 contracting tools called Indigenous Opportunities Consideration and Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses. Indigenous Opportunities Consideration is used in all contracts awarded through its main construction manager, Parsons Inc. The Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses limits the ability to bid on a contract only to Indigenous businesses across Canada. This occurs on a contract-by-contract basis and is determined based on Parsons' understanding of whether or not there is existing capacity within Indigenous businesses to do the work.

Federal Indigenous procurement is being modernized to better enable Indigenous businesses to compete and be awarded government contracts across Canada, participate more fully in the Canadian economy, and generate wealth in Indigenous communities and for Indigenous businesses. On August 6, 2021, the Government of Canada announced the establishment of a mandatory target of at least 5% of the value of federal contracts to be awarded to businesses owned and led by Indigenous peoples. Other changes that took effect August 6, 2021, include:

  • renaming Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses, which was formerly known as Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Businesses
  • simplifying the definition of an Indigenous business to remove full time employee requirement
  • expanding the size and number of the geographic areas where procurements are to be limited to Indigenous businesses (such as changing the threshold from requiring the population to be 80% Indigenous to at least 51% Indigenous)

For more information on federal Indigenous procurement, please visit Indigenous Services Canada's dedicated web page for Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses or contact indigenousprocurement@sac-isc.gc.ca.

New contracts awarded

This section shares information about recent contracts the Main Construction Manager, Parsons Inc. (Parsons) has awarded. Please note the values reflected below were rounded to the nearest dollar.

Aquatic biological services

Parsons awarded a new contract to Det'on Cho Environmental for aquatic biological services.

Contract duration: August 25, 2021 to October 31, 2021
Contract value: $499,718

Third-party independent testing

Parsons awarded a new contract to Det'on Cho Environmental for third-party independent testing.

Contract duration: August 20, 2021 to March 31, 2022
Contract value: $543,415

Early works backfilling

Using a competitive tender process under the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses, Parsons awarded the new contract to backfill portions of the underground for stability to Nahanni Construction. This work includes backfilling large underground stopes with a paste backfill material in order to stabilize the underground.

Contract duration: anticipated start fall 2021 to September 30, 2022
Contract value: $38,380,534

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

  • 2160 hours of training for Indigenous staff
  • 76% of labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 72% of the subcontracting funds to be allocated to Indigenous companies

AR1 Freeze pad construction

Using a competitive tender process under the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Businesses, Parsons awarded the contract to construct 1 of 4 freeze pads on the site to DJRM First Nations Construction Corporation.

Contract duration: August 4, 2021 to July 28, 2022
Contract value: $5,879,319

Part of DJRM First Nations Construction Corporation's bid included commitments to Indigenous opportunities considerations. These included:

  • 1280 hours of training for Indigenous staff
  • 72% of labour to be carried out by Indigenous staff
  • 63.2% of the subcontracting funds to be allocated to Indigenous companies
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