YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T.—The federal and Northwest Territories governments have signed a “landmark” environmental agreement for the Giant Mine Remediation Project.
This agreement supports a "multi-purpose approach to ensure the health and safety of Northerners and is an important step towards the creation of an independent oversight body for the project," explains a release from the federal government. Creating an independent oversight body was a key element of the 2014 Giant Mine Remediation Project Environmental Assessment.
According to a release, the Giant Mine is an abandoned gold mine, located within the city of Yellowknife, which operated from 1948 to 1999. Establishing an independent oversight body is a key requirement of the 2014 Giant Mine Remediation Project Environmental Assessment. This body will provide guidance and independent advice on the project and "ensure Northerners have a direct voice on a broad range of matters."
It will also manage a research program that focuses on finding a permanent solution for dealing with arsenic trioxide at the Giant Mine, the release reads. The federal government committed $3.8 million in operational and research funding for the body over the next five years.
This announcement comes after negotiations between the federal government, the Northwest Territories government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the City of Yellowknife, Alternatives North and the North Slave Métis Alliance.
The oversight body will include representation from each of the signatories of the agreement and will be housed in Yellowknife. It is expected to be operational by the end of the 2015-2016 fiscal year the release explains.
The Environmental Agreement also calls for two annual meetings of the parties to the agreement to review progress.