Feds award multimillion-dollar contract to U.S. company for Giant Mine cleanup

The government of Canada announced Monday that Parsons Inc. will be the construction manager on Yellowknife’s Giant Mine remediation project.

Parsons Inc. was selected as construction manager for the Giant Mine remediation project in N.W.T.

Structures still standing on the former Giant Mine property on Nov. 24, 2017. Parsons Inc. has been named the main contractor for the large remediation project contract. (Walter Strong/CBC)

The federal government announced Monday that a U.S.-owned multinational corporation will be the construction manager on Yellowknife's Giant Mine cleanup project. The company won yearlong bidding process first announced last February.

Starting immediately, Parsons Inc. will provide construction management services for up to $32 million worth of care and maintenance at the site for the next two years. During that time, the complete mine remediation plan will be developed and costed out.

The final cost to clean up the mine may go up to $900 million. Parsons has offices across Canada, and as the main construction manager, it will take an undisclosed percentage of that cost in management fees.

According to tender documents, Parsons will become the mine manager as defined by the N.W.T. Mine Health and Safety Act and Regulations, assuming "full care and control of the site."

According to a government press release the remediation project will provide "valuable economic and employment opportunities for Indigenous peoples and Northerners."

The information released Monday did not outline the expected value of the project to Northern Indigenous people, or to Northern companies, though bids were evaluated in terms of Indigenous training, employment, sub-contractor and supplier selection.

Tender documents also stipulate financial penalties for failure to meet "Aboriginal opportunities consideration," and bonuses for exceeding those goals.

The entire project is expected to take up to 10 years, starting this year. Work includes freezing 237,000 tons of arsenic-trioxide dust underground, securing the integrity of mining pits, tunnels and tailings ponds and demolishing buildings still standing on site.

Parsons was the lead contractor for the take-down of the Giant Mine roaster complex completed in 2014. The company has overseen four other major projects in Canada, including the $960 million Kicking Horse Canyon improvement project in B.C.

The Giant Mine gold mine operated from 1948 to 1999 when Royal Oak Mines, then owner of the mine, went bankrupt.

The cleanup and remediation of the site was inherited by the federal government.