Agreement an important step towards creation of Independent Oversight Body
OTTAWA, June 17, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Northwest Territories Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, today announced on behalf of the six signatories the signing of an 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.
Today's announcement is the result of successful negotiations between the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and other parties to the agreement: the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the City of Yellowknife, Alternatives North, and the North Slave Métis Alliance.
Establishing an independent oversight body is a key requirement of the 2014 Giant Mine Remediation Project Environmental Assessment. The oversight body will provide guidance and independent advice on the Giant Mine Remediation Project and ensure Northerners have a direct voice on a broad range of matters concerning the remediation project. The oversight body will manage a research program towards a permanent solution for dealing with the arsenic trioxide at the Giant Mine.
The federal government has committed $3.8 million in operational and research funding for the oversight body over the next five years.
- Giant Mine is an abandoned gold mine in the Northwest Territories which operated from 1948 until 1999. Giant Mine is located within the city of Yellowknife, approximately 1.5 kilometres from the community of N'dilo and 9 kilometres from the community of Dettah.
- In additional to creating the oversight body, the Environmental Agreement also provides for two annual meetings of the parties to the agreement to review progress.
- 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
"Our Government remains committed to the health and safety of all Canadians and Northerners; that's why we are proud to sign the Environmental Agreement and take an important step forward towards the creation of an independent oversight body for the Giant Mine remediation project."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"The establishment of an independent oversight body will ensure residents have an active voice on the on-going remediation of the Giant Mine Site, including research into to a permanent solution for dealing with the arsenic trioxide underground."
Northwest Territories Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
"This Agreement is a very important step for our First Nation. We will now have a much stronger role; we are watching what happens and we now have independent technical advice. We will make sure there is strong public reporting and oversight like what we have in place for the diamond mines."
Chief Ernest Betsina
Yellowknives Dene First Nation
"The signing of the Environmental Agreement is a milestone in the history of our community's work on the Giant Mine Remediation Project. The Agreement celebrates a more collaborative approach to carrying out the remediation. We are particularly pleased there will be ongoing investment into a better solution, while working with our residents and other orders of governments to identify options and priorities."
Mayor, City of Yellowknife
"The signing of the Environmental Agreement signifies an important point in our community's role in the Giant Mine Remediation Project. We have made significant progress on strong oversight, public reporting, investment in ongoing research, and a requirement for a detailed perpetual care plan for the site. This Agreement will last for the life of the project, and sets out an integrated approach for a social licence in moving forward with remediation at Giant Mine."
"NSMA is proud to have helped to set up, on a go-forward basis, functional solutions for the remediation of Giant Mine. It's important to NSMA to participate in processes that will have a lasting and profound effect on the lives of Northerners in general and NSMA members in particular. The Giant Mine Environmental Agreement is an Agreement all the Parties to it can be proud of realizing."
President, North Slave Métis Alliance (NSMA)
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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information: Emily Hillstrom, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160