Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines

The Canadian government has pledged C$2.2 billion (US$1.66 billion) to advance a long-term plan to remediate eight abandoned mine sites in the Yukon and Northwest Territories
Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines Canadian government batting clean-up for abandoned mines

An overview of the sites included in the 15-year Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program

The country's minister of crown-indigenous relations, Carolyn Bennett, confirmed the 15-year plan on August 19, formally calling it the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.

The sites involved include the Faro lead-zinc mine, United Keno Hill silver mine, Mount Nansen gold-silver mine, Ketza River gold-silver mine and Clinton Creek asbestos mine in the Yukon, and the Giant gold mine, Cantung tungsten mine and Great Bear Lake mine in the Northwest Territories.

Great Bear Lake, a silver complex, has several smaller sites situated in close proximity. Remediation there is anticipated to be tendered in mid-2021 and start in 2022 under a five-year contract.

"The new programme will leverage expertise gained over 15 years of managing human and environmental health and safety risks at contaminated sites in the north and allow for longer-term tenders for work at the sites, providing greater certainty for impacted communities and economic opportunity for Indigenous people and northerners," Bennett said.

"Indigenous and northern communities must be able to meaningfully participate in and benefit from the Government of Canada's investment in cleaning up northern contaminated sites."

By the end of the programme in 2034, active remediation is expected to be complete at seven of the eight mine sites, officials said; however, all sites will require ongoing care and monitoring to ensure ongoing success.

Details of each mine's planned work scope can be viewed here.