The Giant Mine Remediation Project received notice on September 18, 2020, from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, that the Type A Water Licence was granted by the Minister of Northern Affairs in accordance with the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The Licence was approved for a period of twenty years expiring on September 17, 2040.
GMOB reviewed the Management and Monitoring Plans (MMPs) and the Design Plans required under the Giant Mine Remediation Project Water Licence. These included the MMPs for the: Arsenic Trioxide Frozen Shell; Waste; Water; Dust; Erosion and Sediment; Borrow and Explosives; Wildlife and Habitat and Traffic. The Design plans include the: Freeze Containment; Underground; and Non-Hazardous Waste Landfill. These plans were all for MVLWB approval, and GMOB provided review comments under the MVLWB review and approvals process. In addition, the GMRP also submitted three construction plans under the Water Licence: AR1 – Freeze Area; Underground Stabilization ; and Non-hazardous Waste Landfill Phase 1 and 2. These construction plans were not for approval so there was no formal process for commenting.
These Plans have now largely been approved by the MVLWB. The Underground Design and Water MMP have been substantively approved, however sections relating to mine water management remain under review pending additional engagement in the Fall of 2021.
Further updates from the Giant Mine Remediation Project Team can be found using this link:
The Licencing Process
On October 18, 2007, DIAND applied for Type A Water Licence, to cover the remediation of Giant Mine and ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the site. On March 31, 2008, the City of Yellowknife referred the Licence application to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB) for Environmental Assessment, on the basis that the proposed activities to take place during the term of the Water Licence would have, in the City’s opinion, an adverse impact on the environment within its municipal boundaries.
On June 20, 2013, MVEIRB released its Report of Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Giant Mine Remediation Project. The Minister of DIAND approved the EA, including modified measures on August 11, 2014. The Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP) has since then, worked towards fulfilling the requirements of the Measures set forth in the EA while preparing for a Water Licence application to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB).
In mid-2018, the GMRP provided a draft Closure and Reclamation Plan for stakeholder review. The GMRP subsequently addressed stakeholder comments and completed their formal Water Licence application, sharing it for a period of months, and then formally submitting it to the MVLWB on April 1, 2019. GMOB was engaged throughout this process.
In 2019, GMOB submitted comments on the project description package; participated in formal technical sessions (July & September 2019); reviewed and engaged in two rounds of information requests and responses; reviewed submissions and responses to water compensation claims by affected individuals and organizations; reviewed Party interventions and GMRP responses, and submitted a formal GMOB intervention for the Public Hearings held on January 20 – 24, 2020 in Yellowknife. GMOB will continue to be engaged in providing final comments to the draft water licence in March 2020.
Here is the link to the agenda of the Public Hearing on Giant Mine Remediation Project http://registry.mvlwb.ca/Documents/MV2007L8-0031/MV2007L8-0031%20-%20DIAND-GIANT%20-%20Public%20Hearing%20Agenda%20-%20Jan10-20.pdf
Here is a guide to the interventions that were presented at the hearing.
|Party||Link to Intervention||Link to Public Hearing Presentation|
|Project Team||GMRP Responses to Interventions||PART 1PART 2PART 3|
|Alternatives North||AN Intervention||AN Presentation|
|City of Yellowknife||CityYk Intervention||CityYk Presentation|
|Dept of Fisheries and Oceans||DFO Intervention||DFO Presentation|
|Environment and Climate Change Canada||ECCC Intervention||ECCC Presentation|
|Giant Mine Oversight Board||GMOB Intervention||GMOB Presentation|
|North Slave Metis Alliance||NSMA Intervention||NSMA Presentation|
|Slater Environmental||Slater Intervention||Slater Presentation|
|Yellowknives Dene First Nation||YKDFN Intervention||YKDFN Presentation|
|Yellowknife Historical Society||YK Hist Intervention||YK Hist Presentation|
Here are the links to the Minutes of the Public Hearing:
Day 1 DIAND-GIANT – Public Hearing Transcripts Day 1
Day 2 DIAND-GIANT – Public Hearing Transcripts Day 2
Day 3 DIAND-GIANT – Public Hearing Transcripts Day 3
Day 4 DIAND-GIANT – Public Hearing Transcripts Day 4
Day 5 DIAND-GIANT – Public Hearing Transcripts Day 5
On March 20, 2020, GMOB submitted their final comments on the Draft Water Licence to the MVLWB. https://gmob.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-03-20-GMOB-Closing-Comments-to-the-MVLWB-re-GMRP-Executed.pdf
On August 7, 2020, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board recommended approval of the Type A Water Licence to the Minister of Northern Affairs.
GMOB then participated in the pre-engagement review of the Management and Monitoring Plans (MMPs) required under the Giant Mine Remediation Project Water Licence. These MMPs are developed to explain how the Giant Mine Remediation Project Team will manage specific aspects of the project. They included the following plans: Arsenic Trioxide Frozen Shell; Water; Waste; Dust; Borrow and Explosives; Erosion and Sediment; and Tailings. These are plans that be approved by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board before active remediation can begin. The pre-engagement on the plans was done to allow the Parties to review the plans before they were submitted to the formal review process of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.
Giant Mine is located approximately five kilometers north of Yellowknife, NT lying within the city limits and in close proximity to the communities of Ndilo and Dettah. The site lies on the north shore of Yellowknife Bay, part of Great Slave Lake and in close proximity to numerous creeks, rivers, ponds, and small lakes and is considered to include everything within the boundaries of the former lease in place during the operational period of the mine. Two impacted areas immediately outside of the lease area are also considered to be part of the site. They are the Giant Mine “townsite”, which was removed from the surface lease in 1999 and an area of historic tailings deposition along the shore of North Yellowknife Bay.
Gold was found on the Giant Mine site in 1935 but a commercial ore body was not confirmed until 1944 when a massive gold-bearing shear zone was uncovered beneath the Baker Creek Valley. The Burwash Mine, Con Mine, and Negus Mine were all developed in the area before the Giant claims entered into production. Giant Yellowknife Gold Mines Limited poured its first gold brick on June 3, 1948, and the mine, under various owners, remained in operation until 2004 generating over seven million ounces of gold.
Ownership of the mine moved through the hands of a number of companies: Giant Yellowknife Mines, Ltd. (a subsidiary of Falconbridge (1948-86), Pamour (1986-1990), Royal Oak Mines (1990- 1999) and Miramar Mining Corporation (1999-2004). When Royal Oak Mines went bankrupt in 1999, the Government of Canada became responsible for cleaning up the Giant Mine site and allowed Miramar Mining Corporation to haul ore from the site to its mill at Con Mine until Giant Mine was finally closed in 2004.
Over the lifetime of Giant Mine, 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide dust were collected and stored in fourteen underground chambers at the mine site.
Giant Mine Site, Ndilo, Yellowknife, and Dettah
Giant Mine Drone Footage 2019
Giant Mine Remediation Project
The Giant Mine Remediation Project’s primary goal is to protect human health and safety and the environment. To do so, the project is focused on the long-term containment and management of the stored underground arsenic trioxide waste, demolition, and removal of on-site buildings, water management and treatment, and the remediation of all surface areas including the tailings ponds at the Giant Mine site.
As a result of their shared responsibilities for the Giant Mine site, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) are Co-Proponents of the Giant Mine Remediation Project.
The Giant Mine Remediation Project is currently funded through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
Giant Mine Remediation Project Team
The Giant Mine Remediation Project Team involves staff from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC), Public Services and Procurement Canada and the GNWT.
Given that the Giant Mine site is subject to the jurisdictional authority of both the territorial and federal governments, a Cooperation Agreement Respecting the Giant Mine Remediation Project (March 15, 2005) established CIRNAC and the GNWT, as Co-Proponents, who would jointly implement a care and maintenance plan for the site that protects human health, public safety, and the environment. In 2015, the Cooperation Agreement Respecting the Giant Mine Remediation Project was renewed. The Cooperation Agreement also outlined the financial responsibilities of the federal and territorial governments regarding the site care and maintenance and the cost-sharing for surface remediation. CIRNAC is responsible for the management of the arsenic trioxide stored underground at the Giant Mine site.
Click this link for more information on the Giant Mine Remediation Project Team.
The Giant Mine Remediation Project Team consults with the public, First Nations, Metis, and various stakeholder organizations through a number of avenues including formal public meetings and presentations as well as regular meetings of the Giant Mine Working Group (GMWG).
Main Contract Manager
In 2017, Parsons Corporation was named the Main Construction Manager for the current care and management of the Giant Mine site as well as the onsite management of contracts for the remediation work once the Water Licence has been approved. Parsons is a private company headquartered in Pasadena, California.
For information and updates regarding Parson’s work at Giant Mine click this link.
The Giant Mine Oversight Board observes the work of a number of Committees involved with the Giant Mine remediation process. These include the:
Giant Mine Working Group (GMWG)
The Giant Mine Working Group (GMWG) was formed in August 2013. This working group provides a forum for parties to discuss and make recommendations on technical, operational, and project activities regarding the remediation of Giant Mine. Its members include Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), Environment Canada (EC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Alternatives North (AN), Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA), Health Canada (HC) and the City of Yellowknife. GMWG is co-chaired by CIRNAC and GNWT.
YK Health Effects Monitoring Program (YKHEMP)
In 2014, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board completed its seven-year assessment of the Giant Mine Remediation Project to address public concerns about the impact the mine’s clean-up activities may have on the local populations’ health. One of the requirements by the Review Board was to design and implement a Health Effects Monitoring Program in Ndilo, Dettah, and Yellowknife. The purpose of the program was to make sure the remediation activities that will take place at Giant Mine will not have a negative impact on people’s health. The program has been designed to establish current or baseline levels of arsenic exposure among residents in Ndilo, Dettah, and Yellowknife before remediation work begins. Then, during remediation, new monitoring results will be compared to the baseline to ensure participants’ arsenic levels are not increasing because of work being done at Giant Mine. This study is led by Dr. Laurie Chan, University of Ottawa, with advice and input from; The Health Effects Monitoring Program Advisory Committee made up of the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Health Canada, Yellowknives Dene First Nation, North Slave Métis Alliance, Giant Mine Oversight Board, the City of Yellowknife with additional support from the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research.
Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP) Socio-Economic Working Group
The Socio-Economic Working Group is responsible for implementing and coordinating activities in support of the multi-year GMRP Socio-Economic Strategy (2016/17 to 2020/21), which includes objectives, outcomes, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities (i.e. reporting and monitoring on progress). The Working Group is also responsible for the creation, maintenance and review of an annual GMRP Socio-Economic Implementation Plan, which identifies priorities and key activities on an annual basis.
Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP) Socio-Economic Advisory Body
The SE Advisory Body’s mandate is to provide strategic advice to the GMRP Socio-Economic Working Group and act as senior government champions for the implementation of the GMRP Socio-Economic Working Group’s approach. While the Advisory Body provides advice to the GMRP, it does not constitute a formal decision-making body or retain accountability for the GMRP’s approach to socio-economic benefits.
Aquatic Advisory Committee (AAC)
The Aquatic Advisory Committee is a representative group of rights holders and stakeholders who provide ongoing input to the Giant Mine Remediation Project Team about the design and monitoring of water-related components of the Giant Mine Remediation Project.
Hoèła Weteèts’eèdeè Advisory Committee (HWAC)
The Hoèła Weteèts’eèdeè Advisory Committee is a representative group of rights holders and stakeholders who contribute to the various aspects of development and implementation of a stress assessment to evaluate the psychological, social, physical, mental health impacts of stress in the population currently living in proximity to Giant Mine and other local areas impacted by arsenic from historic gold mining activity. The Committee is involved with study design, data collection, analysis, communication, and reporting, with their diverse expertise and knowledge of health, mining, and local issues and populations.
Giant Mine Advisory Committee (GMAC)
Through the Giant Mine Advisory Committee, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation are able to express concerns they have about the project and receive updates about the project from the Giant Mine Remediation Project Team who, in turn, obtain traditional knowledge input and receive feedback from YKDFN.
Giant Mine Education Committee
The Giant Mine Education Committee is a representative group of rights holders and stakeholders formed to develop an education module of the legacy of Giant Mine and the current remediation process. The Committee works with input from the Department of Education GNWT.
Perpetual Care Task Force
The Perpetual Care Task Force is responsible for input into the development of the required Perpetual Care Plan for the Giant Mine site. The Task Force provides input and makes recommendations regarding the Perpetual Care Plan to the Giant Mine Remediation Project Working Group, whose members include signatories to the Environmental Agreement.
Health Study Advisory Committee (HSAC)
The Health Study Advisory Committee (HSAC) was formally established in June 2016. Its purpose is to provide advice and make recommendations to the Principal Investigator and the Project Team in the development and implementation of the Health Effects Monitoring Program Advisory Committee (HEMPAC) by utilizing expertise and knowledge of regional and community level issues. Its member includes Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), the Chief Public Health Officer GNWT, Health Canada, City of Yellowknife, Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) and the North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA). Meetings are held when required, with an attempt to schedule two face-to-face meetings per year. The Giant Mine Remediation Project Team (GMRP) is responsible for coordinating these meetings.
Communicating with Future Generation (CFG)
The Communicating with Future Generations (CFG) Working Group was formed in February 2015 but no longer meets. It was established to facilitate information sharing among key stakeholder and the governments managing the site, with a focus on strategies for communicating with future generations about the management needs of the site. Its membership included the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), the City of Yellowknife and the NWT Mining Heritage Society. The Toxic Legacies Project coordinated these meetings.
Giant Mine Community Alliance (GMCA)
Giant Mine Community Alliance was established as a community liaison committee in June 2003 by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), to assist the public by sharing information about the project and relaying public concerns and issues about the remediation of Giant Mine. This Committee is not currently active. Its membership included the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA), Public Health GNWT, NWT Mining Heritage Society, Ecology North, Northwest Territories Federation of Labour, Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, City of Yellowknife, Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). The Giant Mine Remediation Project Team (GMRPT) Team coordinated these meetings when required.