Royal Oak clears the air
Royal Oak's executive vice-president and chief operating officer says the company recognizes weaknesses its original abandonment and restoration plan, which was approved in 1994, and that an update is in the works
by Anne-Marie Jennings
NNSL (Apr 01/98) - Royal Oak Mines will get another seven months to put together a cleanup plan for Giant Mine.
The NWT Water Board, which had set a deadline of March 31 for an abandonment and restoration plan, agreed last month to extension.
Several issues regarding what will happen to the mine after the gold runs out have yet to be resolved.
In a letter dated Feb. 13, NWT Water Board chair Gordon Wray outlined a number of concerns held by members of the board in regards to Giant Mine, in particular to plans for final closure of the mine.
"A major concern of intervenors and the board is clarification on your progress in completing the arsenic management plan," Wray said.
In the response from Royal Oak to the concerns of the Water Board, Royal Oak's executive vice-president and chief operating officer Edmund Szol said that the company recognizes the weaknesses in the original abandonment and restoration plan, which was approved in 1994, and that an update is in the works.
The abandonment and restoration plan is the document that outlines Royal Oak's procedures for closure of Giant Mine once its resources have been exhausted.
"It is Royal Oak's contention that this updated plan needs to include the recommended remediation measures being addressed in studies currently being finalized for submissions to the Board," Szol said in his letter.
"Also a certain amount of follow-up work and discussions must take place before the criteria for major A and R issues can be finalized.
Royal Oak has now committed to completing a new plan by Nov. 1, 1998."
To help provide more information on the removal of arsenic from underground storage for reprocessing and marketing, Royal Oak also agreed to submit an interim report on arsenic trioxide management.
The report recaps data collected and investigations which have taken place in the licence term, as well as providing in board with updates on current activities and a schedule outlining target completion of the main terms in the new study plan.
In a March 16 letter from Wray to Canadian Arctic Resources Committee research director Kevin O'Reilly, Wray said the board is satisfied with Royal Oak response to the concerns raised in public hearings in January, and that no additional hearings would need to be reconvened.
The deadline for submissions from intervenors in the Giant water licence renewal process was Tuesday.