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Feds to address concerns over Bullmoose-Ruth remediation
YKDFN chief wants Dene oversight group for cleanup of former mines

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Friday, June 23, 2017

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will increase oversight of the Bullmoose-Ruth Remediation Project after an inspection in May showed the project contractor failed to comply with conditions of its land-use permit.

In a May 26 report published to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board registry, Devin Penny, resource management officer with the federal department, expressed disappointment with the company's work.

The purpose of the Bullmoose-Ruth project is to remediate seven former mine sites located within 70 to 90 kilometres of Yellowknife: Bullmoose Mine, Ruth Mine, Storm Mine, Joon Mine, Beaulieu Mine, Spectrum Lake Mine and Chipp Lake Mine, according to the department.

Hay River company Rowe's Outcome JV was awarded the $14.9-million remediation contract.

The inspection report detailed a number of issues with the remediation including improper storage of fuel drums, hydrocarbon stains around the Bullmoose camp and airstrip, equipment leaking fluids without drip trays, the creation of an unauthorized quarry, an unusable truck burnt in an unreported fire and a "very large" hydrocarbon spill near the shoreline of Spectrum Lake.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) ordered the company to meet a number of conditions outlined in the inspection report, including discontinuing quarrying activities and removing contaminated soil and drummed fuel.

Some orders had an immediate deadline while others had a deadline of June 1.

"Following the issuance of the inspection report and inspector's orders on May 26, the contractor completed all items identified as requiring immediate action on May 27 and 28," stated Andrew Norman, corporate secretariat and communications manager for INAC's NWT office, in an e-mail to Yellowknifer.

He added items with a June 1 deadline were addressed and reporting is ongoing for other items.

"INAC and (Public Services and Procurement Canada) also increased oversight of remediation project activities at the Bullmoose-Ruth sites," stated Norman.

Yellowknifer requested to speak with a representative from Rowe's, but the company did not return a request for comment by press time.

Edward Sangris, Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) chief, said he has concerns about the project.

"They're doing it, but they're not doing it to the satisfaction of Yellowknives Dene," he said. "To say, 'Ya, we've remediated' and then it doesn't pass inspection - something is wrong."

Sangris wants to see an oversight group comprised of YKDFN members or have leaders, members and elders take a look at the remediation work done so far.

"That's the only way we feel comfortable," Sangris said. "Because it's on Chief Drygeese Territory, our traditional land, we need to have a say in how it's cleaned up."

Sangris expressed concern to Yellowknifer in January about INAC's consultation with indigenous groups over the project.

Norman says INAC has engaged with indigenous and other groups throughout the remediation project.

"INAC project managers are continuing discussions with the Yellowknives Dene First Nations (YKDFN) on possible opportunities for additional monitoring at the Bullmoose-Ruth sites," he stated via e-mail.

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