Pipeline will go deep, won't disturb ancient bones, TransGas says

To avoid disturbing the site where ancient human bones were discovered, a Saskatchewan pipeline company says it will tunnel deep below.

Bone fragments found near Bethune, Sask., could predate European contact

On Wednesday, First Nations elders visited the site of recently discovered ancient bones near Bethune, Sask. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

To avoid disturbing the site where ancient human bones were discovered, a Saskatchewan pipeline company says it will tunnel deep below.

TransGas is building a gas transmission line near Bethune, Sask. that will service the new K+S potash mine.

However, on Oct. 15, workers unearthed bone fragments and digging came to a halt. Some of the remains are being analysed by forensics experts at the University of Saskatchewan.

Experts say the bones likely date back to the time before European settlers came into contact with the local aboriginal population.

Carry the Kettle First Nation officials and elders from the Nakota Nation visited the site Wednesday for a sacred blessing ritual and to examine the site.

On Thursday, TransGas, which is a subsidiary of SaskEnergy, said work on the pipeline will continue without digging trenches and in a way that won't disturb the remains.

That means tunnelling down roughly 10 metres to 50 metres below the surface and installing pipe for a distance of about one kilometre. 

SaskEnergy says discussions with First Nations groups are still underway, so work on the pipeline will not proceed in the area for the time being.

Bethune is about 55 kilometres northwest of Regina.

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