Saturday, 26 October 2013

Yellowknife's #Giant #Mine Clean-Up: Will Reason Prevail? By Kevin O’Reilly #AlternativesNorth #YZF #NWT @rabbleca

RT @Northern_Clips: Yellowknife's #Giant #Mine Clean-Up: Will Reason Prevail?  Kevin O'Reilly #AlternativesNorth #YZF #NWT @rabbleca
"... Guest blog by Kevin O'Reilly, Alternatives North, Yellowknife. The Giant Mine operated at the edge of the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, from 1948 to 2004. As the gold-bearing ore was processed, the mine generated a toxic by-product, arsenic trioxide – a proven non-threshold carcinogen. For the first three years of operations, the arsenic trioxide went straight up the stack and then came down on the surrounding land and water, killing at least one Dene child and local milk cows. The family of the dead child received $750 as compensation.
Rather than stop the toxic mining operation, the government gave tacit approval to storing the arsenic trioxide underground. There are now 237,000 tonnes of it stored in mined out areas and some purpose-built chambers. Picture a 10-storey building and then multiply that by 7.5 times. That's the amount of arsenic trioxide stored underground. It's probably enough to kill the entire human race several times over. Arsenic trioxide is very soluble in water and it is leaching out of the underground storage areas, although it is being pumped out and treated as part of the overall minewater management
The fate of the Giant Mine and the remediation plan now lies with federal and territorial Ministers. The reasonable next step is for the Ministers to accept the report and its recommendations, which would then become binding conditions on the project moving forward. If the report and its recommendations are rejected, the whole project goes off to a higher level of scrutiny that will include an evaluation of alternatives – something that no one really wants at this point. The Ministers could also refer matters back to the Review Board, but it's not clear what that would really do. The last option is to enter into a murky world of "consultations" to change or modify the report and its recommendations into something that the ministers will accept. We are now onwards of four months since the report was released. Will reason prevail?...."

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