Giant Mine Regulatory Context and Environmental Assessment

The Giant Mine Remediation Project is subject to regulatory processes, including environmental assessment , even though the overall goal of the project is to address environmental issues at the site.

Regulatory Context

The Giant Mine site lies within the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories. This site is regulated by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act . The Act, and associated regulations, is federal legislation aimed at protecting the lands and waters in the Mackenzie Valley. The site is also subject to other federal acts and regulations, such as:

Giant Mine is within the City of Yellowknife's municipal boundaries. The City's bylaws and permit requirements apply to the Project. For remediation, the Project requires:

Other permits, such as wildlife permits or scientific licences, may also be necessary.

The Project team applied for a water licence in 2007. This application was referred to Environmental Assessment. When the Environmental Assessment Final Decision was issued in August 2014, it included 26 legally-binding measures, some of which must be addressed before the Project can reapply for a water licence. More information on the environmental assessment process is available here.

Environmental Assessment

An environmental assessment is a legislated planning and evaluation process. These assessments ensure the protection of the environment and the social, cultural, and economic well-being of residents.

Although the Project is not a new development, its remediation plan was referred to Environmental Assessment in March 2008 because of public concerns. On August 14, 2014, the Responsible Ministers  issued their Report of Environmental Assessment. The Responsible Ministers included:

Their report of decision:

The decision provides focus for the next phase of engagement, design, and decision-making. It also identifies what measures are necessary before the Project can reapply for a water licence.

The Project team is closer to being able to fully clean up the site. However, while everyone wants to see the cleanup start as soon as possible, there are still important permitting and planning activities that must take place first. This is work that could not begin until after the Environmental Assessment.

Before cleanup can start, the team must develop a complete updated water licence package. The team will submit this package to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. The package will include a Consolidated Project Description, describing how the measures are built into the Project plan.

Most of the measures must be addressed before the project seeks regulatory approvals. This means cleanup is still several years away. The team is working toward applying for a water licence in 2019. The cleanup start date will depend on the regulatory process.

In the meantime, the Giant Mine Remediation Project team will continue to ensure the site is safe and secure, and complies with regulations, by:

How will addressing the Report of Environmental Assessment impact the project's schedule or overall cost?

The Project team assessed potential impacts to cost and timeline as a part of its analysis of the Report of Environmental Assessment. This was shared with all stakeholders and is available on the Review Board website.

Now that the Report of Environmental Assessment is complete, the Project Team will focus on completing the measures and developing the consolidated Project Plan. Determining full cost estimates and an updated project schedule will depend on the outcome of these processes.

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