Délı̨nę signs deal to share oversight of nearby mine clean-up

An aerial shot of Great Bear Lake. (Supplied by GNWT.)
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The Délı̨nę government has signed an agreement with the federal government over the cleanup of mines around Great Bear Lake.

The Great Bear Lake Remediation Project will involve the cleanup of several smaller-scale mines, which are all shut down.

The statement says this is the first step in ensuring Délı̨nę community members have a say in the cleanup process for the Great Bear Lake Remediation Project.

Part of the agreement will see the establishment of two committees, the Délı̨nę-Canada Remediation Management Committee and the Operations Committee. The committees will help ensure there are opportunities for Indigenous businesses to bid as part of the procurement process in the mine and training will be provided for community members so they can be hired as part of the cleanup process.

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“The Agreement recognizes a government-to-government relationship between Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government and Canada and commits us to working together to restore the long-damaged area to a state acceptable to Délı̨nę while ensuring that the project will leave significant social, economic and cultural benefits to our community,” Ekw’atide Leeroy Andre, community leader with the Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government, said in a statement.

Work will start at the mine in March. (Supplied by Pexels.)

“The remediation project will be good for our community, for our people and, indeed, for all the people of Canada as we restore this magnificent site to preserve the integrity of the biosphere,” he added.

The sites include the Silver Bear Mines, which include the Terra, Northrim, Norex and Graham Vein, and Smallwood sites, as well as Contact Lake Mine, El Bonanza Mine, and Sawmill Bay. 

The sites are located on the east side of Great Bear Lake. These properties are approximately 250 kilometres east of Délı̨nę and within the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim.

The money for the remediation comes from the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. The federal government is spending $2.2 billion over 15 years for the remediation of the eight largest abandoned mine projects in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The project team said they anticipate tendering for the remediation work in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, so “work can start soon after.” The remediation is expected to take five years to complete.

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