Success stories: Contaminated sites program
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) supports efforts to remediate contaminated sites which have been abandoned by their owners through the Contaminated Sites Program. The objective of the CSP is to manage contaminated sites in a cost-effective and consistent manner. The program aims to reduce and eliminate, where possible, risks to human and environmental health, and liability associated with contaminated sites in the North.
The following showcases the success of INAC's contaminated sites programs in the North with regard to remediation of contaminated sites.
See more information on contaminants sites program in the North.
See other Aboriginal success stories from across Canada.
The Faro Mine is one of the largest and most complex contaminated sites in the country. Located in the southcentral Yukon close to the Town of Faro, it was an open-pit lead-zinc mine from 1969 until it went into interim receivership in 1998. The site covers approximately 2500 hectares and includes 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock. Both the tailings and waste rock contain high levels of heavy metals that could leach into the environment in the absence of remediation.
FOX-C Ekalugad Fjord
FOX-C, Ekalugad Fjord, is located on the east coast of Baffin Island in Nunavut. The site was constructed as an intermediate Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line site in 1957 but abandoned in 1963. Environmental and human health risks on the site included batteries, asbestos and liquid hydrocarbons, as well as unexploded ordnances such as blasting caps and dynamite. The site was also littered with non-hazardous debris such as empty barrels, wood, scrap metal and domestic waste.
Giant Mine covers 949 hectares and is situated within the city limits of Yellowknife, NWT. The site lies along the western shore of Yellowknife Bay, an arm of Great Slave Lake. This gold mine operated nearly continuously from 1948 until its closure in July 1999. The site includes 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide stored underground, as well as various buildings and surface areas contaminated with arsenic. If not managed properly, these site risks represent significant hazards to human health and the environment.
Port Radium Mine
Port Radium Mine is located on the eastern shore of Great Bear Lake, 440 km north of Yellowknife and east of the Dene community of Déline. The site was first mined in the 1930s for radium used in medical research, then for uranium in the 1940s and 1950s to make nuclear weapons and for nuclear power. The site was then mined for silver until 1982 when it was decommissioned. The site was reassessed in 2000 due to community concerns regarding silver, copper and uranium in soils and surface water on the site, as well as elevated gamma radiation associated with the waste rock.
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