The Giant mine, located just 5 km from the city centre of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, produced more than 7 million oz. of gold over its entire history, starting in the 1940s.
Through the ore roasting process, the mine also produced an enormous amount of highly toxic arsenic trioxide dust. When the owner of the mine went bankrupt in 1999, the cleanup of the site fell to the federal government.
If the project gets its water licence approved, full remediation could finally get under way in 2021 and be completed in 2030. CMJ spoke to Natalie Plato, deputy director for the Giant Mine Remediation Project in May about the site’s history and progress towards its remediation.
Canadian Mining Journal: Tell us a little bit about the history of the Giant mine site.
Natalie Plato: The mine began production in the ’40s and operated to 1999 and was one of the largest gold mines in Canada.
But in 1999, the owner at the time, Royal Oak Mines, declared bankruptcy and walked away from the site at which time the federal government under DIAND (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) took responsibility for the site. We had an interim operator, Miramar, and they operated the site for us until 2004. When they finished, they left the site and it officially became abandoned.
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