Wek’èezhìi Area

The Wek’èezhìi is the management area of the Tlicho settlement area, traditionally defined as the Môwhì Gogha De Niitlee area. The boundaries of the region are outlined in the Tlicho Agreement  , signed by the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council on August 25, 2005 in Behchoko, NWT. It is the first ever combined land claim and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories.

There are four communities in the Wek’èezhìi: Gameti, Wekweètì, Whatì, and Behchoko, where the Tlicho Government is located. The traditional language of the Tlicho people is Tlicho (Dogrib).

A number of contaminated sites have been identified and prioritized in the Wek’èezhìi region, and identification and assessment is ongoing.

Contaminated sites in the Wek’èezhìi region identified for further investigation and potential remediation are located on Crown Land.

Wek’eezhii Area Sites

This map is intended for general information only. It is neither a technical reference tool, nor a legal document. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada will not be held liable for any errors or inaccuracies.

No. Site Name Phase
 1  Horn Plateau/Marian Lake Area Assessment
 2  Indore/Beaverlodge(Hottah) Mines Assessment
 3  Norris Lake Assessment
 4  Sun-Rose Claim Group Assessment
 5  Wijinnedi Lake Assessment
 6  Nighthawk Gold Corporation sites
(Chalco Lake Exploration Site, Diversified/Indigo Mine, Spider Lake Exploration Site)
Remediation
 7  Colomac Mine Remediation Complete / Monitoring
 8  North Inca Remediation Complete / Monitoring
 9  Rayrock Mine Remediation Complete / Monitoring

 


Assement Sites

Horn Plateau/Marian Lake Area:
Rex Property

The Rex property is a former uranium exploration site, located on the north side of Sheldon Lake, 156 km northwest of Yellowknife, and 66 km northwest of Behchokò. Although it is identified as “Horn Plateau” in maps, the site is not geographically related to the actual Horn Plateau, an area located further south. Mineral exploration at the site was conducted by different groups between the 1950s and mid-1970’s with the primary focus being on uranium.

Concerns at the site include:

  • Potential radioactive waste rock and sediment
  • Remains of camp site and dumpsites
  • Remaining workings from exploration activity

Work completed:

2012-2013 Combined Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

What’s next?

The results of the Environmental Site Assessment will be reviewed to determine what future work is required.



Indore/Hottah (Beaverlodge) Mines

The Indore and Hottah (Beaverlodge) Mines are located 12 km apart on Hottah Lake and Beaverlodge Lake respectively, approximately 100 km north of Gameti in the Northwest Territories. Indore Mine was originally staked for uranium exploration in 1950, and operated off and on until it was closed in 1956. Hottah (Beaverlodge) Mine is a former uranium mine which had various owners between 1943 and 1977, after which, responsibility for the site reverted to the Crown.

Concerns at Indore Mine include:

  • A small quantity of tailings remaining on land
  • Slightly elevated radioactive waste rock and sediment
  • Unsecured mine openings, including a mine shaft and adit
  • Remains of former buildings and dumpsites
  • Miscellaneous debris and materials which contain asbestos
  • Elevated uranium levels in the waste rock

Concerns at Hottah (Beaverlodge)
Mine include:

  • Unsecured mine openings, including mine shaft, and trenches
  • Radiation levels and uranium levels in waste rock near the pits
  • Burned remains of former buildings
  • Miscellaneous debris and scrap

Work completed:

2008-2009 Phase III Environmental Site Assessment

2008-2009 Human Health Risk Assessment

2009-2010 Elders site tour

2010-2011 Remedial options were selected through input from the Tlicho Elders and Executive.

2011-2012 Poor weather did not permit site access for this year’s field season

2012-2013 Archaeological Assessment and a Site Investigation to resolve data gaps

What’s next?

A meeting with Tlicho Elders is planned for early 2013 to discuss the Remedial Action Plan. Initial remediation work is expected to begin following winter road construction and mobilization to site in March of 2015. Remediation is expected to take approximately one year and will include closure of mine openings, addressing waste rock dumps, demolition of buildings and tanks and off-site removal of wastes.



Norris Lake

The Norris Lake property is a former gold and base metal exploration site, located on the Emile River, approximately 235 km northwest of Yellowknife and 32 km west of the Colomac Mine site. Mineral exploration activities first began in 1938 and continued through different periods until 1982.

Concerns at the site include:

  • Remains of former buildings and dumpsites
  • Waste oil storage barrels
  • Metal and waste rock debris
  • Hydrocarbon and metals-contaminated soil

Work completed:

2012-2013 Combined Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

What’s next?

The results of the Environmental Site Assessment will be reviewed to determine what future work is required.



Sun-Rose Claim Group

The Sun Rose property is a former uranium exploration site, located on the north side of Chico Lake, 123 km northwest of Yellowknife, or 35 km north of Behchokò. The site is located adjacent to the winter road route between Marian Lake and Snare Lake Hydro junction. This route was also used for a brief time as an all weather road route to the former Rayrock Mine.

Concerns at the site include:

  • Potential radioactive waste rock and sediment
  • Remains of buildings, roadways and dumpsites
  • Remaining workings from exploration activity

Work completed:

2012-2013 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

What’s next?

The results of the Environmental Site Assessment will be reviewed to determine what future work is required.



Wijinnedi Lake

The Wijinnedi Lake property is a former gold exploration site, located on the east side of Wijinnedi Lake, 172 km north-northwest of Yellowknife, or 133 km northeast of Behchokò. Mineral exploration activities took place in the 1940’s by both Vive Yellowknife Gold Mines, and Yellowknife Volcanic Gold Mines Limited. Exploration ceased in the late 1940’s but a prospector camped in the only remaining log cabin on and off between the mid 1970’s and 2001.

Concerns at the site include:

  • Remains of former buildings and dumpsites
  • Fuel drums
  • Hydrocarbon-contaminated soil

Work completed:

2012-2013 Combined Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

What’s next?

The results of the Environmental Site Assessment will be reviewed to determine what future work is required.



Sites in Remediation

Nighthawk Gold Corporation Sites
(Chalco Lake Exploration Site, Diversified/
Indigo Mine, Spider Lake Exploration Site)

In December 2011, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada negotiated an agreement with Nighthawk Gold Corporation (formerly known as Merc International) to exchange a number of mineral claims and leases at the Colomac site in return for Nighthawk remediating three other contaminated sites in the Wek’èezhìi Area.

Nighthawk has agreed to protect the existing remediation efforts at the Colomac site and will work with both the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board and the Tlicho Government when carrying out site remediation in accordance with the Closure and Reclamation Plans submitted for the Diversified/Indigo, Spider Lake, and Chalco Lake sites under the Land Use Permit.

Work completed:

  • Chalco Lake Exploration
    Site In August 2012, site remediation contractors removed more petroleum-impacted soil and debris and collected confirmatory samples. In September 2012, a Hercules aircraft was mobilized to the Colomac site to remove stockpiled contaminated soil that had been staged at Colomac.
  • Diversified/Indigo Mine
    In March and April 2012, the head frame was brought down along with many of the buildings and structures.
  • Spider Lake Exploration Site
    There has been limited activity at Spider Lake to date.


Remediation Completed / Monitoring

Colomac Mine

The Colomac Mine was a gold mine in operation from 1989 to 1997 and is located 222 km northwest of Yellowknife. Mining production lasted from 1990-97 and the following year, Royal Oak Mines Inc. placed the mine in care and maintenance. It reverted to the Crown in 1999 when Royal Oak Mines Inc., went into receivership.

Concerns included:

  • Contaminated water management and treatment
  • Exposed tailings and potential wildlife impacts
  • Hydrocarbon-contamination at former tank farm area, mill and shop
  • Hydrocarbon-impacted bedrock, groundwater, soil and sediment along Steeves Lake shoreline
  • Waste oil and chemical inventories at mine closure
  • Abandoned mine complex buildings.
  • Open pits and abandoned quarries.

Work completed:

1999-2000Emergency care and maintenance and site clean-up

2001-2003Water treatment to reduce cyanide and cyanide-related compounds, ammonia, and heavy metals in Tailings Lake and Zone 2.0 Pit

2004-2005 Demolition and excavation of the tank farm and construction of the barrier wall and land treatment unit

2006-2007Tailings Lake and Zone 2.0 Pit water treated to discharge levels and construction of major civil works (Dam 1B, tailings cap, discharge channel)

2008-2009Construction of caribou berm, decommissioning of caribou fence, waste consolidation, waste oil inventory

2010-2011Final site remediation including demolition of buildings, remediation of the Steeves Lake shoreline, treatment of hydrocarbon-impacted soil and water, collection of free product, routine water quality monitoring

2011-2012Treatment of remaining hydrocarbon-impacted soils, final site clean-up and demobilization from site

2012-2013 Long-Term Monitoring Phase began Monitoring is community-based and includes the continuation of the Adaptive Hydrocarbon Management Program to address residual hydrocarbons in the bedrock. Environmental monitoring includes water quality, water levels in lakes and pits, geotechnical stability of Dam 1B, tailings cap, spillway and discharge channel, non-hazardous landfill. Restoration monitoring includes stream flow and habitat restoration, erosion, and aquatic/terrestrial health.

The large steel warehouse known as “Big Blue” has remained on site at the request of the Tlicho and was officially handed over to the Tlicho Government in June 2012.

What’s next?

Monitoring will continue at the site by the Colomac Project Management Team until it can be determined that remediation has been effective and that site conditions have reached a steady state. In the meantime, Nighthawk Gold Corporation has a land use permit in the area to explore for minerals and regulatory inspections under that permit will be conducted by AANDC Inspectors. Nighthawk’s activities are exploratory in nature and will not affect what has been done to remediate the site.



North Inca

The North Inca mine site is located approximately 190 km north of Yellowknife. Gold exploration occurred at the site between 1945 and 1949, including surface and underground drilling. There has not been significant activity at the site since 1949.

Concerns included:

  • A partially open mine shaft
  • Deteriorating buildings
  • Two above-ground fuel storage tanks
  • Asbestos-containing materials.

Work completed:

2009-2010Remediation began and included the closure of mine openings, demolition of buildings and removal of fuel storage tanks

2010-2011Full remediation was completed with the removal of all materials from site and initial monitoring was conducted

2011-2012Further site inspections were carried out in 2012 to confirm the effectiveness of the remediation work. Also, a geotechnical study was carried out on the shaft cap.

What’s next?

An additional site inspection is scheduled for 2014 to ensure the remediation work continues to be successful.



Rayrock Mine

The Rayrock Mine site is located 145 km northwest of Yellowknife. Rayrock Mine was an underground uranium mine in operation from 1957 to 1959. During operations, approximately 70,000 tonnes of ore were processed, yielding 207 tonnes of uranium concentrate.

Concerns included:

  • Radioactive tailings which were deposited on land in two containment areas and a garbage dump
  • The mine was also a potential source of radioactivity, through radon gas emissions from mine openings and ventilation shafts
  • Miscellaneous debris and scrap that may contain asbestos

Work completed:

1996-1997 Remediation complete - work included sealing all mine openings and ventilation shafts, relocating radioactive material from the dump to the tailings piles and capping the tailings with a thick layer of silt-clay, followed by revegetation

1998-1999 Completion of the short-term monitoring program, and the development of the long-term monitoring program

1999-2009 Ten year annual monitoring as part of the long-term monitoring program (regulatory requirement of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Licence)

2009-2010 A performance assessment was initiated to review the current conditions of the site since reclamation activities in 1996 and compare it against the reclamation objectives and closure criteria

2010-2011 Additional monitoring completed and the Rayrock (K’wetiia’a) Elders Committee established to discuss community concerns about the site

2011-2012 The Performance Assessment Report was completed and proposed a new monitoring frequency and scope for the site. A gap analysis of existing site data (wildlife, fish, vegetation, surface water, groundwater, soil, and sediment) was also conducted to identify what more information was required to complete a detailed Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment.

What’s next?

Activities this year will include investigating an area of potentially unknown hydrocarbon contamination as well as an investigation of buried material to help close knowledge gaps. The Rayrock (K’wetiia’a) Elders Committee will continue to meet to discuss findings from investigations and develop options for monitoring and maintenance. A mapping exercise with Tlicho Elders in February 2012 also helped to better understand the historic transportation route.