The City of Yellowknife is officially breaking off talks to save the Robertson headframe.
Two weeks after the revelation that the city is legally powerless to step in – after years of trying – councillors have voted to end negotiations with the headframe’s current owner.
Newmont Mining Corporation, which took possession of the old Con Mine headframe in 2008, will only hand it over if the city absolves it of all future liability for any issues at the site.
The city recently announced it could not legally give Newmont that guarantee.
City officials believe all avenues to assist in saving the headframe have now been exhausted.
Councillor Bob Brooks was the only member of council to vote against Monday’s move to end talks with Newmont.
“The headframe is such an integral part of the city and I’m hoping it will continue to be in the future,” said Brooks. “I can’t tell you how many people have told me that that is the way they found their way home.”
The headframe sits on old Con Mine land that is still being cleaned up by Newmont.
Alternatives to keeping the headframe include the suggestion of building a replica in its place once the land is cleaned, or housing some of the structure in a museum.
But Brooks believes, despite this latest setback, the fight to keep the headframe in place is not yet lost.
“We’ll make this decision known to the GNWT, Newmont and any other volunteer groups. It may help to motivate other parties, or mobilize them to get a solution to this,” he said.
“There are things we can do, still, I believe. Ultimately it is going to take the City of Yellowknife cooperating with the GNWT.
“That door is not closed so why should we give up on the headframe when all the doors aren’t closed yet?”