June/July 2018: What's Happening at Giant?

Table of contents

Dust Control

This image shows a dry tailings pond with trees and rocks in the far background. An acrylic co-polymer, made visible using a dye for the first application, was applied to form a crust that keeps the dust from becoming airborne.
Green dye was used to show the SoilTAC dust suppressant applied to the Northwest Tailings Pond.

Now that the snow has melted, we are well into the dust management season at Giant Mine.

The existing Care and Maintenance contractor, Deton’Cho/Nuna Joint Venture, has carefully inspected all tailings ponds to confirm there is adequate dust suppressant (SoilTAC) applied to all areas. They’ve paid extra attention to areas that have caused dust in the past.

SoilTAC is an environmentally safe, acrylic co-polymer-based dust suppressant. Once applied, creates a hard "crust" on top of the tailings to keep dust down. It should last for multiple seasons before another application is needed.

There is currently enough SoilTAC on site to reapply if any areas begin to show signs of needing additional suppressant. Another 40,000 litres has been ordered and arrived on site. This will be applied by the Care and Maintenance Contractors to areas that require re-treatment throughout the upcoming season for additional protection against dust storms in all of the tailings ponds.

As well, construction projects that access any portion of the tailings ponds are required to do regular applications to disturbed areas to eliminate the risk of dust events.

UBC Bridge Reconstruction Project

This picture shows the bridge spanning Baker Creek.
Photo of the reconstructed UBC Bridge.

On May 23, the UBC bridge was opened to vehicle access. This reduces workers’ travel time to the main underground access portal in the B2 Pit, as well as to other nearby areas of the site.

The UBC Bridge was originally built in 2007. It had been closed since Fall 2015, when Deton’Cho/Nuna Joint Venture staff noticed the bridge abutments had shifted and rotated.

Reconstruction began in March 2018 with the replacement of the foundation system. The bridge’s deck and steel girders were structurally sound, so they were reused in the bridge’s structural components. Minor work will continue over the next few weeks, but the bridge is open to most vehicles on site.

Dam Inspections and Assessment

The Project conducts annual inspections and maintenance of all tailings dams on site. This year, the Project will undertake investigative drilling at Dam 1 beginning in mid-June. The dam plays an important role in the current water treatment process. The Project team needs to assess any additional maintenance that may be required for Dam 1 since it will continue to function as part of the current treatment plant until the new water treatment plant is operational.

Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) Workshop

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team invited the public to participate in a Quantitative Risk Assessment workshop. This was held on May 31 and June 1 at the Quality Inn in Yellowknife. Participants voiced their concerns about potential risk scenarios that could affect community health and safety after the remediation process concludes.

The input gathered during this workshop will guide how the Project plans for long-term risks. The information will be analyzed to help look at ways to reduce these risks as the Project refines the details of the final site design.

We will hold a follow-up session to further screen the scenarios developed at the first session. You are welcome to email giantmine@aandc.gc.ca for more information about this session, or subscribe to our newsletter to receive information about upcoming engagement opportunities.

A group of people sitting at tables and standing in an open space in the room examine papers on a wall where they have written and categorized concerns about the Giant Mine site.
Participants in the Quantitative Risk Assessment categorize the concerns they’ve identified into similar themes.
A consultant is shown writing on one of the many pieces of paper stuck to a wall, representing categorized concerns about the Giant Mine site.
The consultant, with the participants, names and categorizes the types of concerns identified as part of the quantitative risk assessment.

Giant Mine Remediation Project community outreach update

On May 12 and 13, the Giant Mine Remediation Project team set up a booth at the annual Spring Trade Show, hosted by the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce. The team was available to engage with the community, provide information about the Project, and answer questions about Giant Mine’s remediation process.

Following this, on May 24, Project team brought the booth to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation job fair. High school students from Grades 9 to 12 engaged with our team to learn about the work going on at site. The students had an opportunity to inquire about different careers that will be available when the remediation of the site goes forward. The Project team also shared information on training programs related to Giant Mine.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at these events to learn more about the Project!

Water Licence Package Introductory Session

As the Giant Mine Remediation Project prepares to apply for a Type A Water Licence, the Project team will hold a number of engagement sessions, in addition to the engagement that will be part of the regulatory process. This was kicked off with a public meeting on June 5, hosted at the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. At this meeting, members of the Project team provided information about the different components that will be part of the Water Licence application package.

At the June 5 meeting, the Project team outlined plans for remediating the Giant Mine site, the documents that will be available for public input prior to the submission of the application, and how to access the documents for review. For those who were not able to attend the session but are interested in reviewing some or all of these technical documents, you can access these through our Sharepoint site.

Sharepoint
User name: giant.mine@agresearch.ca
Password: *cleanup100

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the session. If you have feedback or questions, please email giantmine@aandc.gc.ca. You can also submit topics that you would like to see further discussed by August 1, 2018 to this email address. This will help guide the Project team’s plan for further engagement, such as the technical session in the fall. The Project team anticipates formally submitting the water licence application in January 2019.

Health Effects Monitoring Program update

The Health Effects Monitoring Program is currently finishing its second year of sampling.

Overall results for the overall general Yellowknife population are not yet available, as Dr. Chan requires a full data set to form accurate conclusions. The Project team anticipates these results in Fall 2019, and will communicate these through our usual channels such as this newsletter, public meetings, and other mechanisms, as appropriate.

Individual results from the first wave of sampling completed in Fall 2017 will also be shared directly with participants of the study in a personal letter from the Principal Investigator, Dr. Laurie Chan. This includes information about any next steps for the individual, if required. All individual results are kept strictly confidential between Dr. Chan and the participants, and so the Project team cannot answer any questions related to individual results. For more information on the study, please contact the research team research team directly at ykhemp@uottawa.ca or visit ykhemp.ca.

While results reflecting the overall general population are not yet available, the Giant Mine Remediation Project has conducted other work to assess the risk of exposure to contaminants from the site and surrounding areas. The Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment showed in terms of residents’ exposure to contaminants of concern, the risks associated with the Giant Mine are low. For more information, or to learn how to access a copy of the report, please contact giantmine@aandc.gc.ca.

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