Roberts and Ida Bay Silver Mine Remediation Project

Ida Bay Abandoned Site

The Roberts Bay silver mine site is located on Crown land approximately 115 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay. The Ida Bay Silver Deposit is located on the shore of Melville Sound approximately seven kilometres north of Roberts Bay.

Contaminant of Concern

The primary concern at both sites is the mine openings. As well, there are abandoned mine wastes, litter, and contaminated soil.

History of Site

Roberts Bay Silver Mine Entrance

The Roberts Mining Company first staked the area in 1964 and the silver deposit was discovered in 1965. The following year, gold and silver deposits were staked at Ida Bay. From 1967 until 1972, the Hope Bay Mining Company (later called Hope Bay Mines Limited) explored the area. Mining equipment mobilized to the site in 1973. Declines were constructed at both Ida Bay and Roberts Bay and mining began.

In 1974, Hope Bay Mines Limited entered into a joint venture with Van Silver Explorations and Recko Explorations. The Roberts Bay Mine was upgraded and a small mill was constructed.

When operations ceased in 1975, 74,500 ounces of silver had been recovered. Exploration continued in the 1980's and 1990's. In 1997, the mining lease was surrendered. The area was re-staked in 1998.

In 1996 and 2003, site assessments were conducted to address the presence of contaminants at the site. The site was identified, in 2003, as a priority for cleanup under the Federal Contaminated Sites Accelerated Action Plan.

Current Activity

Barrels left on the tundra at the Roberts Bay site

In 2005, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada completed a site assessment program which included a review of all previous assessment and clean up activities, field investigations, computer modeling, development of engineering plans for clean-up, and obtaining regulatory approvals for site restoration. In September 2007, Quantum Murry LP was awarded the Roberts Bay and Ida Bay Silver Mine remediation contract committing to over 80 per cent Inuit employment and to providing 68 per cent of sub-contract work to Inuit firms. Work will begin in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

Future Plans

Once remediation of the site is complete, a 25-year monitoring program will be implemented.

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