Giant Mine Remediation Project
Margarita de Guzman (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2012-017)
In October of 2012 Altamira Consulting Ltd conducted an initial archaeological field survey of the Giant Mine Remediation Project area. The survey is part of an Archaeological Overview of the Giant Mine area and was conducted in advance of the Giant Mine Remediation Project.
Giant Mine is an abandoned gold mine located within the City of Yellowknife. The lease boundary covers 872 hectares and encompasses a number of ponds and small lakes, including Baker Creek, Pocket Lake, Trapper Lake and a portion of Yellowknife Bay (Great Slave Lake).
Close to 60 years of gold mining has resulted in a massive environmental liability. The proposed remediation plan involves reclamation of the abandoned gold mine and the containment and immobilization of 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide, a byproduct of the gold production process. Included in the contamination is an estimated 325,000 m3 of soils, as well as various buildings and mine facilities. The property is now Commissioner’s Land and is administered by the Department of Municipal & Community Affairs.
The archaeological overview assessment, which consisted solely of pedestrian reconnaissance, was directed at assessing lands within the Giant Mine Lease Boundary for archaeological potential. This included identifying areas of disturbance and determining areas of potential use for remediation, as well as determining if any previously recorded sites remained in the area.
During the overview, three previously recorded heritage sites were revisited and eight areas were identified as having heritage potential; several new sites were also recorded. The results of these investigations underline the need, and provide justification, for a full Heritage Resource Impact Assessment of the project area prior to the initiation of field remediation operations.
(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)