Water Licencing

Current Status

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.

CIRNAC Giant Mine Remediation Project Issuance Type A Water Licence

CIRNAC Giant Mine Remediation Project – Reasons for Decision

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.

PartyLink to InterventionLink to Public Hearing Presentation
Project TeamGMRP Responses to InterventionsPART 1PART 2PART 3
Alternatives NorthAN InterventionAN Presentation
City of YellowknifeCityYk InterventionCityYk Presentation
Dept of Fisheries and OceansDFO InterventionDFO Presentation
Environment and Climate Change CanadaECCC InterventionECCC Presentation
Giant Mine Oversight BoardGMOB InterventionGMOB Presentation
North Slave Metis AllianceNSMA InterventionNSMA Presentation
Slater EnvironmentalSlater InterventionSlater Presentation
Yellowknives Dene First NationYKDFN InterventionYKDFN Presentation
Yellowknife Historical SocietyYK Hist InterventionYK Hist Presentation

Here are the links to the Minutes of the Public Hearing:

On March 20, 2020, GMOB submitted their final comments on the Draft Water Licence to the MVLWB.
GMOB Closing Comments to the MVLWB re GMRP Executed

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.