The Giant Mine townsite will be torn down over the summer of 2022 as part of a remediation project set to begin this year, council heard on Monday.
The news came during the project team’s annual update at this week’s municipal Governance and Priority Committee meeting and ahead of a virtual information session planned for the public on Tuesday evening.
Natalie Plato, deputy director of the Giant Mine Remediation Project, said the team is ready to begin clean-up efforts this summer but has seen some adjustments to the schedule – chief among them that the deconstruction of the townsite will take place next summer instead of this year, as had been planned.
“So those buildings will be taken down,” she said. “There are some hazardous materials, with asbestos being the predominant one. That will be separated and bagged according to the regulations and any other hazardous materials will be taken out as well.
“Those materials will be placed in the onsite landfill on our site.”
Plato also touched on several other aspects of the project, noting the team’s ongoing going work to finalize the overall project design and update monitoring and management plans for the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.
Some of this summer’s “early works” of remediation will include the preparation of an ‘AR1 freeze pad,’ where the team will blast rock and begin freezing arsenic chambers at a major rock outcrop near Baker Creek.
This summer will also see the construction of a non-hazardous waste landfill that will take in all debris and waste over the course of the project as well as the beginning of some backfill underground stabilization work, Plato said.
Last month, the Giant team began preparing for winter drilling in around the Yellowknife Bay and gave a description of the multi-faceted project that will carry on into the 2030s.
Socio-economics and benefits to locals
Beyond the more physical objectives of the initiative, the project team also touched on how it’s attempting to maximize the benefits of the project for Northern and Indigenous businesses.
Andrei Torianski, socio-economics manager with the project team, said the team put together a socio-economic strategy in 2019. That was followed by an implementation plan last year to find the most ways to benefit Northerners, particularly through training, giving employment notices to the community and procurement.
The project is expected to employ 204 people this year and a peak 312 workers next year. The required employees taper to 27 in 2031.
“In a sense, our goal is to contribute towards strengthening our local remediation capacity,” Torianski said. “We continue to host Industry Days for the local business community and we review and modify our procurement tools. The goal is to ensure that organizations responsible for health and safety as well as infrastructure are aware of our changing labour demand, forecasts and work sequence schedule.
“We monitor our labour demand and we inform the local community of labour demand and schedule of upcoming activities.”
Jessica Mace, the project team’s engagement manager, gave an overview of an array of advisory and working groups, how efforts are made to meet with city council and staff, chief and council from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and groups affected by the project like the NWT Historical Society and the Great Slave Sailing Club. She also discussed education and outreach efforts at schools and trade shows.