Can you put a price on the impact of Yellowknife’s Giant Mine? – by Sidney Cohen (CBC News North – November 16, 2022)

Quantifying, in dollar terms, the effect of the mine on the economy, environment and people is complicated

Last week, the federal government revealed that cleaning up Yellowknife’s Giant Mine is now projected to cost $4.38 billion instead of $1 billion. This is, by one measure, greater than the mine’s total estimated revenues during its operation.

Quantifying, in dollar terms, the impact of the mine on the local economy, the environment, and the people who live on and use the area’s land and water is complicated, if not impossible.

However, in 2002, a territorial government mining adviser and a federal government manager with then-Indian and Northern Affairs did attempt to put dollar amounts on wealth generated by Giant Mine in a socio-economic study of gold mining in the Yellowknife area.

The following comparisons draw from that study. They aren’t perfect, but they help contextualize the scale of the remediation project that’s in the early stages right now.

Giant Mine by the numbers

Giant Mine operated from 1948 until 2004, under various owners. In that time, it produced around seven million ounces of gold — or about 198 tonnes. It also produced highly toxic arsenic trioxide dust, more than 237,000 tonnes of which must be contained underground.

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