Monitoring the Environment

A worker inspects the equipment used to monitor air quality around the Giant Mine site.

Consistent monitoring and evaluation is an integral part of the Giant Mine Remediation Project to ensure the safety of northerners and the environment.

Current Monitoring

The mine site is regularly monitored for health and safety reasons, but also to help inform the overall design of the remediation plan. The Project Team monitors air, surface water, ground water, soil and vegetation on a regular basis.

By knowing if and when there is a risk of contaminants in the environment, the Project Team can initiate appropriate measures to reduce those concentrations. As well, by capturing data now, the Project Team will be able to measure the success of the remediation plan.

Water from Baker Creek, the underground and around the site are regularly sampled and tested for arsenic, cyanide and heavy metals.

Captured water is tested twice before it is released into the environment: before it is treated and again after treatment. This ensures that the water treatment system is working properly and that water discharged into the receiving environment meets federal guidelines. Currently, treated water is discharged into Baker Creek during the late summer and early fall.

Air samples are collected in 22 locations, chosen based on prevailing winds and geography. Site features, such as the tailings ponds and the roaster complex, are taken into account to ensure the monitoring program can determine the source of airborne contaminants, such as metals and arsenic.

Air monitoring is conducted only during the summer, when contaminants are exposed to the environment. During this time, the air samples are collected for a period of 24 hours, every six days. The dust samples are collected every 30 days, as per the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network guidelines.

Future Monitoring

A detailed plan for monitoring the site during and after implementation of the Remediation Plan is being developed with input from community stakeholders.

The Environmental Health Safety and Community Management System (EHSC) will include sampling and analysis of groundwater and surface water, air quality monitoring, environmental effects monitoring, and monitoring of ground temperatures within and around the frozen arsenic trioxide chambers and stopes.

It will also outline regular inspections of remaining pit walls, as well as the covers, ditches and spillways associated with the remediated tailings impoundments.