An Ottawa researcher developing new technology to pull up and analyze frozen mud samples from N.W.T. lakes says it will give regulators and mining companies a better tool to do their jobs.
“It’s a technology that’s going to allow mining companies to … better plan how they’re going to use the area around the lake, and make sure that their work is done sustainably,” said Tim Patterson, professor of geology at Carleton University.
“That’ll allow them to do better to protect the aquatic ecosystems.” Currently, mining companies have to follow strict cleanup protocols when planning to mine in the N.W.T.
The territory’s Mine Site Reclamation Policy requires companies to provide detailed “pre-disturbance” conditions as part of their application — and measuring the chemical environment of nearby lake waters and their sediments is a criteria.
That’s why it’s important to know the natural, baseline metal concentrations in the lakes — so companies know exactly how much to clean the lake of contaminants like arsenic, said Patterson. But current methods are not good enough, he said.
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