Giant cleanup a go
Ottawa agrees to move ahead with surface clean-up

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 06/99) - The federal government will proceed with surface clean-up of Giant Mine while squabbles over which level of government is responsible are being resolved, said Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Robert Nault.

"We don't want to play jurisdictional games when environmental safety is at stake," said Nault during a press conference in Yellowknife Saturday.

The GNWT says the federal government should pay for the clean-up, estimated to cost $13 million. The federal government has said it is responsible only for the underground clean-up.

DIAND regional spokesperson, Dave Nutter, said Nault's statement does not mean the federal government is prepared to pay for the surface clean-up.

"I think we recognize, as does the GNWT, that we have to sort out where the financial responsibility lies," said Nutter.

Topping DIAND's list of priorities for the clean-up are a number of old tailings areas that need to be stabilized and the hazardous waste site.

"We had identified that some time ago as work that needed to be done sooner rather than later," said Nutter of the hazardous waste area. He said the work was identified when Royal Oak controlled the property, but the company never got around to dealing with it.

Liability for reclamation of the hazardous waste dump and the old tailings ponds is not in dispute.

Both are addressed in the water licensing process and as such, said Nutter, are federal responsibilities.

A site assessment report on the surface clean-up is being prepared by a consortium of companies headed up by the Deton'cho Corporation. An RWED official said it should be ready within two weeks.

DIAND and the territorial departments of Municipal and Community Affairs and Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development shared the cost of the report.