March 21, 2005

Canada, NWT sign co-operation accord for Giant Mine cleanup

The federal and Northwest Territories (NWT) governments have signed a ten-year co-operation agreement on the management and remediation of the Giant Mine site. The agreement is intended to create a mechanism for co-ordination and co-operation between the two governments regarding remediation and care and maintenance activities at Giant Mine. This includes completion of a remediation plan, and implementation of an approved plan.

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND, representing the federal government) and the NWT (represented by the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development) will work together to review and agree upon a remediation plan with both surface and subsurface components.

The main issue at Giant Mine is the 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide dust stored underground at the site, which is the by-product of more than 50 years in operation. Both governments have agreed that underground freezing is the preferred option for addressing the arsenic trioxide dust stored underground at Giant Mine.

The federal government has acknowledged long-term responsibility for the arsenic trioxide dust stored underground. The NWT will provide $23 million as its contribution to the care and maintenance and surface remediation at Giant Mine. Costs for the interim office will be shared.

Other highlights of the agreement include:

*creation of an interim office under DIAND management, responsible for finalizing the Giant Mine remediation plan, acting as co-proponents for regulatory applications, and overseeing site care and maintenance activities; and

*creation of an oversight committee with equal representation of the GNWT and DIAND, responsible for administering the agreement and providing general direction to the interim office. It will report to the Ministers of each respective government.

The agreement covers the remediation of Giant Mine only and is not intended to set a precedent for any other mine site on Commissioner's Land. Also, it does not transfer jurisdictional responsibilities or liabilities that either government may have with the respect to the other.

More information is available from Lorne Tricoteux at DIAND, 867/669-2500.

In related developments, a contract valued at approximately $8 million has been awarded to the Deton'Cho Nuna joint venture as part of a series of arrangements for the care and maintenance of Giant Mine, to take effect on June 1, 2005. The two-year contract covers all care and maintenance activities at the site, which includes ensuring that the mine remains in compliance with relevant environmental regulations, maintaining site security and public safety, facilities maintenance, management of mine water, treatment of effluent and effective site monitoring.

The contract is the first step in the implementation of the Canada-NWT co-operation agreement regarding Giant Mine. In accordance with the agreement, the NWT is contributing $1 million per year for three years toward the care and maintenance of the site.

Deton'Cho Nuna is a joint venture between Deton'Cho Corporation, the economic arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and Nuna Logistics, a 51% Inuit-owned firm. Created in 1988, Deton'Cho has extensive experience providing support to the mining industry. Nuna Logistics, incorporated in 1993, has experience in earthworks, contract mining, frozen core dam and dike construction and mine site support.

The joint venture won the contract over international competitors following a call for proposals the western region office of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Deton'Cho Nuna submitted the best technical proposal at the lowest overall cost.

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