Bad 24 hours for headframes – Giant Mine’s C-shaft at risk

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Leaders of the Giant Mine clean-up project say its C-shaft headframe may come down this year to ensure worker safety.

The news came hours before Yellowknife City Council voted to end negotiations to save the Robertson headframe, another of the city’s landmarks, on the site of the old Con Mine across town.

Giant, a former gold mine north of Yellowknife, is one of Canada’s most contaminated sites.

The site requires a long-term clean-up operation to safely contain large quantities of a toxic mining byproduct named arsenic trioxide.

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Part of that project has involved carefully dismantling buildings associated with the mine. The C-shaft headframe, one of Giant Mine’s best-recognized features, could be next.

Read: Yellowknife council votes to end Robertson headframe talks

“The C-shaft is going to be one priority this year,” clean-up project director Craig Wells told Yellowknife city councillors on Monday.

“An engineering report last year identified some major structural issues with the C-shaft headframe, so that’s an area where we’re looking at removing the cladding and removing the structure because it’s at risk of collapsing.

“Power, water, everything – communications – all run under C-shaft so, if that headframe were to collapse, that would be a pretty catastrophic incident for the site and would have a huge impact on worker safety.”

Members of the Giant Mine remediation team will brief residents about clean-up progress at a public forum on Thursday, from 6pm till 9pm, at Northern United Place.

There is also a meeting for Yellowknives Dene First Nation members on Wednesday, from 5:30pm till 8:30pm at the N’dilo Community Gym, and a meet-and-greet at Javaroma on Friday, from 9:30-10:30am and 2:30-3:30pm.

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