With its remote location and lack of infrastructure, mining in Nunavut can be difficult. But with a diverse mineralogy that includes gold, silver, diamonds, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, rare earths, cobalt, bismuth, nickel, and copper, there are companies that are more than willing to spend the time, money, and effort to travel to such remote locations. Environment Canada is also willing to travel to these remote locations.
On July 14, 2011, Environment Canada enforcement officers inspected an Orbit Garant Drilling Inc. drill rig located on the Hope Bay Mining Boston Camp property, near Iqaluktuuttiaq. The rig was in close proximity to a river. The inspection revealed an “ongoing release of drill cuttings, drill mud and brine.” Sample analysis and an expert report concluded that the material could be deleterious to fish. There was no evidence of any permanent harm done to any fish.
The results of the 2011 inspection and investigation were recently concluded, and according to a June 11, 2014, press release by Environment Canada, “Hope Bay Mining Ltd. and Orbit Garant Drilling Inc. have entered into a diversion agreement with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada following an Environment Canada investigation of alleged violations under the Fisheries Act. The companies have each agreed to pay $75,000 for a total voluntary payment of $150,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund. The payment will be directed towards projects in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut.”
As we have observed recently, environmental enforcement isn’t just focused on discharges from typical “smoke stack” companies. We’ve seen enforcement for water discharge from hog farms, rock discharges from blasting, and no discharge from a dry cleaner. All of this points to the need to have an excellent environmental advisory team (legal and technical) to keep you informed and “ahead of the enforcement curve.”
If you have questions about environmental compliance issues, contact Christopher Paré, P. Geo (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 519-979-7300, ext 114, or Andrew Tymec, P. Eng (email@example.com) at 519-979-7300, ext 118.