Stark Lake Exploration Site Remediation Project

Learn about the Stark Lake Exploration Site Remediation Project, the work done to date and what's ahead.

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The Stark Lake site is a former uranium exploration site on the eastern shores of Stark Lake. The site is located 20 kilometres east of Łutselk'e on the shores of Regina Bay in Stark Lake, Northwest Territories. Historically, community members used the site for fishing and hunting.

Caption: A Google Earth map showing where Stark Lake is located within the Northwest Territories, as well as the former mine area and camp site.
Descriptive text for Stark Lake

A Google Earth map showing Stark Lake in the center of the image, with the Winch Site to its left. To the right of the image, along the eastern shores of Stark Lake is the former mine area and camp site, outlined on the map in a white rectangle.

Uranium exploration on the site took place during the late 1940s and early 1950s. A drilling, trenching and bulk sampling program was undertaken in 1950, followed by the establishment of an adit, which is an entrance to an underground mine, into the "C" vein. The "C" vein was the most promising of several showings at the site. Additional exploration of the uranium-bearing ore from the adit was undertaken in the early 1950s but was discontinued in 1954 due to low grade ore and tonnage.

In 1969, Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Company Ltd. completed geophysical survey work. No further exploration is recorded to have taken place at the site after that, and the site was abandoned. No milling or other processing of ore is known to have occurred at the site.

The site consists of a main mine site and camp area. The main site is located at a higher elevation approximately 0.5 kilometres north-northeast of the camp area, at the base of a steep bedrock face.

The main site includes:

The former camp area is situated near the shores of Regina Bay in an area with scattered rock outcrops, and includes debris and waste present from the exploration activities.

In 1994, waste metal was cleaned up and access to the adit was restricted. Environmental and safety concerns remain at the site.

Project goals

The Stark Lake Exploration Site Remediation Project goals include:

Issues at the site

Concerns at the Stark Lake Exploration Site include:

Engagement approach

The Stark Lake Exploration Site Remediation Project actively engages Indigenous communities. The Stark Lake Remediation Project team's goals include optimizing economic development opportunities within the Akaitcho Region and promoting social and economic benefits for Akaitcho through capacity-building opportunities.

The Indigenous groups engaged on this project to date include:

Project meetings and update letters will be the main communication method to inform rights holders and stakeholders about the project status.

In 2021-2022, CIRNAC re-started engagement strategies with Indigenous partners to foster new relationships and establish input and capacity opportunities as the project advances.

Work done to date


The Stark Lake project was identified as a priority project for implementation during Phase IV of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program. Assessment work required to define the remediation scope included:

  • 2 day brush-cutting program to improve site access for future assessment and remediation activities
  • Investigation Assessment Studies
    • baseline gaps
    • borrow sources
    • Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
    • Archeological Overview Assessment
  • Remedial Options Analysis

The Project team completed supplementary investigation in the 2021-2022 fiscal year to determine the extent of impacts and inform the revision of the Site-Specific Risk Assessment for Stark Lake. This work will support Canada's objectives of reducing liabilities while also responding to community concerns about the site.


The project completed a Site Wide Hazard Assessment for the site. This assessment identified all the hazards present at site. The project completed a gap analysis on the Stark Lake Phase III Environmental Site Assessment. The purpose of the analysis was to outline areas of focus in regards to assessment work before proceeding forward with future project activities.


The project completed a Traditional Knowledge mapping exercise.


The project conducted a Phase III Environmental Site Assessment. The project also completed a geophysical investigation to determine the vulnerability of the adit.

The project performed water, soil, and sediment sampling to understand the full risks of the current site. Sampling found high metal concentrations in some areas, however, the Stark Lake water body remained undisturbed.

The project conducted a Radiological Assessment to determine gamma radiation levels. Findings showed that the site was stable, as 56 days of continued exposure would be required to reach radiation levels of concern.


The project completed Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments and a preliminary Human Health Risk Assessment. The site was identified as a Class 2 (medium priority for Federal Contaminated Site Action Plan funding) site, with site hazards including:

  • metal-impacted soil
  • tailings
  • mine openings
  • miscellaneous non-hazardous and hazardous material

What's next

The Project team will establish a remediation plan for the Stark Lake site in the 2022-2023 fiscal year after engaging with the communities regarding remedial options for the site.

Pending funding approvals in 2022-2023, the project team will proceed with:

Following that, a typical schedule for remediation would consist of:

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