Archaeological Impact Assessment of Courageous Lake Project

Lisa Seip (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2010-015)

In 2010, Rescan Environmental Services Ltd. undertook archaeology baseline studies for the Courageous Lake Project under a Northwest Territories Class #2 Archaeologist’s Permit 2010-015. The fieldwork was directed by Lisa Seip, who was assisted by Vanessa Neuman, Nazon Goulet, and Ryan Mecredi. These studies included assessment of five proposed drill pad location areas, a proposed ice road, and areas of proposed mine site infrastructure. As the exact mine site plan has not be determined yet, the study focused on potential locations of infrastructure to assist with mine site design.

Community site visits were arranged during the week of August 31 and September 3, 2010 and attended by representatives of the Yellowknives Dene, Lutsel K’e Dene, Tli Cho Nation and North Slave Métis Alliance. Representatives of the Northwest Territory Métis Nation were unable to participate due to prior commitments and an invitation was extended to them to visit the site next year should there be a summer program again. Discussions were cordial and informative with no significant concerns raised by the various community members. The site visits concluded with a request by Seabridge for an invitation from the various communities for a visit in late November 2010 to present the results of the 2010 Environmental Baseline studies.

The study resulted in the recording of 32 prehistoric sites, 1 historic camp site and 4 rock cairn sites of unknown age. Additionally, seven previously recorded sites in the Project area were revisited to assess their condition. Additional archaeological studies are planned for 2011.

There are no archaeological sites in conflict with the proposed drill pad locations. There are several sites in potential conflict or in close proximity to the proposed winter road and in areas that may be considered for mine site infrastructure. Avoidance is the preferred management recommendation for all sites and if avoidance is not possible then systematic data recovery is recommended. As the project is currently in the design phase no impacts are anticipated this year.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)