Group questions feds' ability to monitor Giant Mine clean-up
Only 1 federal inspector left in N.W.T. after devolution
A social justice organization is questioning who will be monitoring the clean-up at Yellowknife's Giant Mine this spring after 14 federal inspectors, including some that worked on Giant Mine, transferred to the territory with devolution.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada says it is still overseeing existing contaminated sites in the N.W.T., but Alternatives North is concerned the federal government will be using staff from outside the territory to ensure work at the former gold mine is meeting environmental laws.
In an email, Aboriginal Affairs says there is one remaining federal inspector working in the territory and if the need arises, they will call on inspectors in Nunavut and Yukon to help oversee the contaminated sites here.
Last week the N.W.T. Chamber of Mines sent out an information notice on inspections. It says Aboriginal Affairs in N.W.T. is getting help from the Nunavut regional office and it plans to hire a second inspector to work in Yellowknife in the next few months. The department has not confirmed that.
Now Alternatives North has sent a letter to the federal minister because it says work at Giant Mine should not be monitored from Nunavut.
The organization is worried about Baker Creek, which has a history of washing tailings into Great Slave Lake during spring melt.
Three years ago federal inspectors in Yellowknife ordered the clean-up team to make changes to prevent future spills.
CBC requested an interview about inspections at Giant Mine more than two weeks ago. Aboriginal Affairs has not responded.