Yellowknife, NWT (October 29, 2009) - In our continuing efforts to keep the community of Yellowknife informed of activities at Giant Mine, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is releasing the following statement regarding recent work at the site.
On October 24th, INAC was advised through the NWT Spill Line that a small discharge of fine arsenic dust had occurred and that the dust had come in contact with a worker.
INAC takes the health and safety of northerners and the protection of the environment very seriously. Our first priority is to ensure proper containment of the arsenic, as well as ensuring mitigation measures have been carried out that protects people, property and the environment.
The arsenic dust has not migrated out of the immediate vicinity of where the incident occurred, and the arsenic has been cleaned-up, containerized and properly stored. The freeze optimization study has been suspended pending investigation. Soil and water samples have been submitted to an accredited laboratory to ensure there was no further exposure in the surrounding area.
The worker who came into contact with the dust was wearing personal protective equipment including a waterproof suit and a specialty-fit respirator at the time of the incident. Following established safety procedures, he was immediately washed down and tested for exposure. The worker will continue to be monitored by the contractor, Deton'Cho/Nuna Joint Venture.
Upon notification, the INAC Inspector contacted the Mine Manager to discuss the incident, and confirmed mitigation measures undertaken to that point. The Inspector provided direction for soils and water sampling, and confirmed a site visit occurred on October 26th.
INAC takes the Giant Mine Remediation project seriously and continually takes action at the Giant Mine site to protect the health and safety of NWT residents and the environment.
Since 1997, INAC has engaged in extensive public involvement and information sharing through public meetings, open houses and presentations, community mail outs and the Giant Mine website. INAC continues to encourage input and is planning further public meetings and information to help people understand the proposed remediation plan.
Regional Director General
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Northwest Territories Region
For more information, please contact:
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Phone: (867) 669-2572