November Giant Mine Update

Monday, November 5, 2018

Taking Care of the Mine

Fall has come and gone, and winter is settling, so it is no surprise the effluent treatment plant (water treatment) was shut down in September. It will begin operating again during next spring’s start-up. This year, a very small pilot water treatment plant was installed on-site to try out different ways of cleaning the water. It is still in operation, but will be shut down soon. The water coming out of the treatment plant is tested by the Taiga Environmental Laboratory here in Yellowknife to make sure it meets discharge criteria before it is released into Baker Creek.

Det’on Cho Scarlet provides site security services, and they indicated there were no site security issues or events for this reporting period. Det’on Cho Nuna handles the surface care and maintenance work, making sure the site surface infrastructure does not degrade the site is a safe place to work, and the environment is protected. They are doing a great job and we are all the better for it.

Det’on Cho Procon is working to stabilize the underground part of the mine so that it is safe for the future remediation. They work closely with the surface care and maintenance group and, on a busy day, the dry looks like there’s a full-on mining operation happening!

To make sure everyone on site stays safe and secure, Det’on Cho Medic North provides on-site medical and emergency medical services. Fortunately, there’s nothing to report and, thanks to the high level of care and attention paid to site safety and worker safety, we are working to keep it that way. For example, because the mine site is contaminated with arsenic, all workers that might come into contact with undergo regular medical monitoring. Lab testing and results provided by ALS labs in Yellowknife.

Preparing to Remediate the Mine

Parsons Inc., as the Main Construction Manager (MCM) for the Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP), and its’ subcontractors are making sure the mine site remains a safe place to work, safe for the environment, and ready for the full-on remediation works.

The Government of Canada is working to submit a water licence application the first quarter of 2019 and is in the process of finalizing the Closure and Reclamation Plan. As work continues on the licencing and reclamation planning, engineers are working on the 12 major design components that make up the whole GMRP.

As the Government of Canada’s engineers do this work, Parsons will be helping them out by providing a Technical Design Constructability Review. That review takes the information the engineers provide and tests it to make sure it can be done. It also looks at the best way to do it, taking into consideration the desire to see Northern and Indigenous residents benefiting from the work. When the constructability review is done, Parsons will define all the smaller work packages required to complete each of the 12 design packages.

Contract Opportunities

Work packages are issued through MERX private as either Request for Proposals (RFP) or Invitation to Tenders (ITT)). Parsons recently issued a work package to assess the on-site communications infrastructure. The bids were received and an announcement on who was successful will be posted on the MCM website[] soon.

Parsons also recently issued an air monitoring work package. There are air monitoring stations at the mine site, as well as three community stations. Two are in Yellowknife, and one is in Ndilo. The successful contractor will maintain the air monitoring stations and ensure the data coming from them is accurate. The successful bidder should be announced in December.

Parsons is looking to announce a security fencing upgrade contract opportunity this year. It will be issued as an ITT under the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB). That means that the ITT is reserved for Indigenous owned businesses from anywhere in Canada. To find out more about PSAB check out Canada’s website.].

Parsons will soon issue a work package for a small surface drilling project on the tailings ponds. This will be done to collect samples to help get the information needed for the design of the reclamation works. When drilling is complete, the holes will be backfilled with cement.

Engaging Local Residents and Businesses

Keeping people engaged and informed is important to Parsons and to the residents of the Yellowknife area. Parsons wants to hear from people that have successfully delivered projects in the NWT and apply those best practices. Through the many face-to-face meetings with local businesses, the diamond mines and local institutions and organizations, Parsons staff are building a procurement plan that dovetails into the start of the site’s full remediation, expected to take about 10 years to complete. The results of Parsons consultations on procurement and training with the GNWT and Industry are also being applied through an adaptive management process into the ongoing work.

Parsons works closely with its subcontractors to track and support them in achieving their Indigenous training, labour and procurement commitments. Monthly statistics are compiled by Parsons staff and rolled into a quarterly report.

Parsons also provides Indigenous development corporations and businesses advance notice of future bidding opportunities. It will intensify its engagement and outreach as work packages become more defined and future contracting opportunities begin to materialize.