August/September 2017: What's Happening at Giant?

Table of contents

Air Quality Monitoring Open House

On August 1st, the Giant Mine Remediation Project team hosted an open house, to give residents of Niven an opportunity to learn about the newest air quality monitoring station in Moyle Park.

Air quality monitoring stations measure dust levels in real time, and ensure that residents are not being exposed to unacceptable levels of impurities from activities at the Giant Mine. For more information on the Project’s Air Quality Monitoring program, please visit the Air Quality Monitoring Program webpage.

Signs at the Niven Lake air quality monitoring station explain how the station measures dust levels in real time.

Niven Lake community members learn how the station helps the Project team to monitor air quality, to warn of any potential issues that could affect people's health, while work is going on at the former mine site.

SLR Consulting employee Christiane Buie (left) explains how the data collected by the station is used and analyzed.

Mialia Leblanc gets a colorful butterfly painted on her face by GNWT employee Erika Nyyssonen.

Baker Creek Alignment Report

As part of the Environmental Assessment measures, the Project team was asked to look at whether Baker Creek should be diverted off site. The Project team consulted with community members and stakeholders about this decision through the surface design engagement process. That process is now complete, and the input received from stakeholders has been included in a report that evaluates potential routes for Baker Creek and will inform the final remediation plan for the creek.

When making the decision about the alignment of the creek, the Project team considered results from the surface design engagement and criteria that included environmental and social impacts. Things considered were:

The Baker Creek Alignment Report is intended to meet the requirements of Environmental Assessment Measure 11, which is important in order to prevent habitat loss. The draft report was submitted to the Giant Mine Working Group and the Giant Mine Oversight Board for comment in July 2017. The Project team will incorporate feedback into a final report expected this fall.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the surface design engagement and consultation. For a copy of the final Baker Creek Alignment Report, please contact the project team at giantmine@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca.

Non-Hazardous Landfill Site Chosen

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team has been carefully considering where they can build a new landfill when remediation starts. This landfill would be for non-hazardous waste.

To help decide where a new landfill should be located, the team looked at different places on site that would be suitable and now has a preferred option for where to build it. The location is recommended because it is safely away from natural bodies of water, flood plains and public roads. The location is also recommended because the natural landscape is well suited for the project, and the landfill could be expanded if there is more non-hazardous waste than expected during the remediation. The findings of the report have been shared with the Giant Mine Working Group.

This map shows the preferred location for building a landfill at the Giant Mine site.

Regardless of location, the non-hazardous waste landfill will be used to dispose of:

The sludge would be put in a part of the landfill carefully designed for containing that particular waste. Double-bagged asbestos waste would be placed in a designated section of the landfill to prevent it from being disturbed.

As the landfill is only for non-hazardous waste and double-bagged asbestos waste, the landfill is not expected to affect the quality of the water. Hazardous waste from the remediation is being addressed separately. The arsenic trioxide will be frozen underground. All other hazardous waste from the remediation process will be safely packaged and shipped off site for proper disposal.

Dust Suppression

The Project team is constantly seeking ways to improve management of the site, including minimizing dust. To this end, the Project team sought a more effective dust suppressant for the tailings ponds. The new product was chosen based on specific performance: once applied and cured, it would need to last longer on the tailings ponds. This season, the new product, SoilTac, has been applied. Our new dust suppressant product can be put on the tailings at lower temperatures, and can rapidly create a thicker and more effective crust while only requiring application every three to five years.

Dust suppressant binds particles together to prevent dust events during heavy winds.

The application of a dust suppressant prevents dust from being blown off site. The product is dyed green to allow the team to compare areas during the first few applications. In addition to the thickness, the crust forms in under a week!

Carlos Philipovsky, Project Manager, Public Service and Procurement Canada, shows Giant Mine Working Group members just how thick of a crust the environmentally-safe polymer forms on the tailings, to keep dust from blowing away.

The new dust suppression product, SoilTac, is better suited to the northern climate.

Health Effects Monitoring Program Launch

The Health Effects Monitoring Program will help the Project team to make decisions during the remediation activities at Giant Mine to avoid any negative effects on people’s health. The program will have two main parts: a lifestyle questionnaire, and the collection of toenail, urine, and cheek swab (saliva) samples from participants.

The Program is excited to announce the addition of an Assistant Project Coordinator in Yellowknife, Stacey Sundberg. Stacey is well suited to work with the health study program as she is currently employed by the Institute of Circumpolar Health based in Yellowknife. Stacey is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and will serve as the local contact person for all three communities involved in the study (Yellowknife, Ndilo, and Dettah). She will be available to respond to any questions or concerns about the Health Effects Monitoring Program. You can contact her by phone: 867-873-9337 or by email: ssundberg@ualberta.ca.

The Health Effects Monitoring Program is set to start this fall in Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah. Your household may receive an invitation to participate in the Program. From each selected household, one adult and one child will be invited to participate in the study. The purpose of this long-term monitoring program is to establish a baseline before mine remediation activities begin, and then continue to monitor arsenic levels in residents in Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah throughout the remediation project.

Participants can expect to receive detailed results from the sampling. The Program is looking for volunteers from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the North Slave Métis Alliance to participate in the program. If you wish to participate, please contact the program at ykhemp@uottawa.ca.

Upcoming activities for fall 2017:

For more information please visit the Health Effects Monitoring Program website or find them on Facebook under Health Effects Monitoring Program!

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