2008 Baseline Studies for Avalon Ventures Ltd. proposed Thor Lake Rare earth metals project (Aquatics and Hydrology component)

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: mining, biology, water quality, hydrology, sediment quality, environmental baseline

Principal Investigator: Sibbald, Carey (5)
Licence Number: 14423
Organization: Jacques Whitford
Licenced Year(s): 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Issued: Sep 18, 2008
Project Team: Carey Sibbald (Aquatics, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Simon Machnik (Aquatics, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Edenise Garcia (Aquatics, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Karen Muno (Aquatics, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Tobi Gardner (Hydrology, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Jennifer Todd (Hydrology, Jacques Whitford-AXYS), Steve Wolbur (Hydrology, Jacques Whitford-AXYS)

Objective(s): The objective of this research is to provide a baseline study of the hydrology, groundwater, water and sediment quality and aquatic life in and around the Thor Lake area.

Project Description: This licence is issued for the scientific research application #914.

The objective of this research is to provide a baseline study of the hydrology, groundwater, water and sediment quality and aquatic life in and around the Thor Lake area.

Hydrology measurements will involve the installation of three continuous stream-flow gauging stations (at the outflow of Thor Lake, and at two of the inflow streams into the Lake) as well two continuous lake level gauging stations (in Thor Lake and Long Lake). To supplement the discharge database, flow measurements will be taken at specific water quality stations, preferentially during range of flow (including base and peak) conditions.

A meteorological station will be installed to collect precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and solar radiation.

The groundwater hydrology monitoring will include examining approximately six coreholes in the existing exploration area. It is assumed that these coreholes are about 200m and penetrate below the bottom of the permafrost. Further, the selected coreholes should penetrate groundwater zones that will be affected by mining–including any dewatering operations. In addition, three shallow [< 20 m] wells will be located and drilled in the vicinity of three of the coreholes.

Groundwater data collection will include groundwater level monitoring and hydraulic conductivity recovery tests in selected wells. At least one well will be installed with a continuous data logger. The groundwater data will be used to develop a model that includes a description of the flow directions and volumes of groundwater movement through the study area.
Ground water quality will be monitored based on periodic sampling and analyses from about six shallow and deep monitoring wells. Based on this data, a preliminary description of the chemistry of groundwater throughout the study area will be conducted. In situ water quality sampling will also occur. These samples will be analysed for turbidity, total suspended and total dissolved solids, alkalinity, major ions, nutrients, total and dissolved metals, dissolved organic carbon and radionuclides.

Sediment sampling will include the collection of samples using Ekman Grabs during the fall at all stations sampled for water quality. These samples will be analysed for total metals, total organic carbon, total phosphorus, total kjeldahl nitrogen, organochlorines, radionuclides, PCB congeners, and particle size distribution.

Aquatic biota sampling will include the collection of phytoplankton using plankton nets to examine taxonomy, abundance, chlorophyll a and phaeopigment levels. There will also be a collection of benthic invertebrates using Ekman Grabs during fall for taxonomy and abundance.

Data and analysis on hydrology and aquatics in and around the Thor Lake site will be made available to communities and the Aurora Research Institute to be included in their library.

The fieldwork for this research will be conducted from September 18 to December 31, 2008 within and adjacent to the Thor Lake property (62 06' 27" N by 112 36' 25" W).