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UPDATE: Concerns about the Giant Mine in NWT persist

Peter Redvers. Photo by CBC.

Peter Redvers. Photo by CBC.

The Giant Mine is located on the shore of Great Slave Lake, the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories. The Royal Oak Mines Ltd.-owned mine closed in 2004, but about 237,000 tonnes of highly toxic, water-soluble arsenic trioxide remain on the site. To address this, the Harper government’s cleanup plan, as reported by the CBC, “is to freeze the thousands of tonnes or arsenic dust underground forever”.

In September 2012, Peter Redvers, now an activist with the Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter, said there are no guarantees that future governments will maintain the site. He asked, “How do you solve this problem as opposed to tuck it underground and hope that 100 years from now, someone else will take responsibility for looking after it.” As noted in the CBC report, “Redvers said people need more assurance that the water pumped off the mine into Yellowknife Bay will be clean.”

The article adds, “Some groups who have been following the cleanup say it will impact not only the immediate area around the mine, but all of Great Slave Lake. …Government officials said the water in the bay will be safe enough for recreation, wildlife and to be used as a drinking source.”

In a letter to the editor published in the Northern News Service earlier this week, Redvers tackled another significant issue, “(Fracking) will become a major issue in the NWT over the next few years, initially in the Sahtu region and then in the Deh Cho. …Fracking is an industrial activity that uses large amounts of freshwater, contaminates that water, and then allows a significant volume of that toxic water to remain in the ground, where it can interact with groundwater, flow through faults in the ground, and potentially re-enter our surface water system. …Water must be considered a human right and a public, not private, resource. …Simply allowing companies to begin horizontal fracking in the Sahtu or other NWT regions on a trial basis is not adequate or appropriate. Proper assessments need to be done.”

Edmonton-based Prairies-NWT organizer Scott Harris will visit Peter and the NWT chapter in Yellowknife tomorrow. He will be taking with him a video-message from Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. More on Scott’s visit soon.

For more, please read:
Giant Mine’s arsenic legacy worries Yellowknifers
NEWS: Abandoned gold mine threatens Great Slave Lake in the NWT
Fracking research a must to reduce impact
Concerns about tar sands polluting the NWT water supply