Environmental Surveys of Fortune Minerals NICO Project
Principal Investigator: MacNeill, Scott W (3)
Licence Number: 14510
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Apr 16, 2009
Project Team: Damian Panayi (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd), Scott MacNeill (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd), Tyrel Llyod (Hydrologist, Golder Associates Ltd), Lasha Young (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd), Katherine Guerin (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd)

Objective(s): The objective of this study is to supplement the existing environmental baseline data for the Fortune Minerals NICO Property to support the environmental assessment process for future mine development.

Project Description: The objective of this study is to supplement the existing environmental baseline data for the Fortune Minerals NICO Property to support the environmental assessment process for future mine development.

Environmental surveys will be conducted in the area surrounding the project base camp and along the proposed routes of an all-weather access road to Behchoko and a transmission line to Snare hydro. The scope of the studies will include fish and fish habitat, geochemistry and water quality surveys. Site visits by field staff and assistants will be made during the late winter, spring, summer, and fall of 2009.
Equipment for surveys will be limited to standard field measuring and surveying equipment, such as automated water quality monitors, GPS units, motorized inflatable boats, fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. An automated meteorological station will collect weather data.

Fish and Fish Habitat Survey: A mid to late season fish and fish habitat survey will be conducted within the area potentially impacted by the Project footprint and along the proposed access road route. The fish surveys will complement surveys conducted since 1998. The survey will identify possible impacts from the mine and access road on fish and fish habitat to support the EA. Various fish collection techniques including set nets and traps will be used to collect specimens. Fish habitat will be surveyed visually, and depth will be measured using a depth sounder and measuring line.

Water and Benthic Sediment: Late winter (March 2009) and summer (August 2009) water and sediment quality surveys will be conducted within the NICO property on water bodies within and downstream of the Project. These surveys will compliment surveys conducted since 1998. The water and sediment surveys will determine the baseline limnology and chemistry of the water bodies. It will be especially important to collect this information following the forest fire in the Project region in 2008. The water samples will consist of roughly 3 litres of surface water collected by hand. Sediment samples will be sub-sampled from a composite of three, 2 cm sediment cores.

Vegetation Survey: A late-season vegetation survey for the NICO project site, the all weather road route, and transmission line is proposed starting around August 20th, 2009. The survey will complement the late-season, vegetation surveys conducted in 2003, 2005 and 2008. The survey will determine if there are rare plants present. Vegetation communities on the proposed project footprint will be identified and characterized by walking the area and documenting visual observations.

Wildlife Surveys: Aerial and ground-based surveys will be conducted to gather information on wildlife use of the area. Methods have been described in the Wildlife Research Permit application.

Geochemistry Survey: additional geotechnical investigations to be conducted on the NICO Property from July to September 2009 will include a geotechnical investigation: around the perimeter of the proposed tailings basin, to better delineate the permafrost temperature profile with depth ( this will add to the Permafrost / Hydrogeology baseline if carried out); on the proposed footprints of building foundations (geotechnical / foundation engineering); to confirm that certain areas that will be covered by mine rock, tailings, or buildings are not sitting on potential ore.

As part of the baseline assessment for this project, Golder Associates staff will be conducting interviews with community residents within close proximity to the project area. These studies have already been approved by ARI under licence #'s 14447R and 14448R.

Local individuals will be hired to participate in many of the surveys. In the past, many individuals from Behchoko, Gamètì, Whatì and Yellowknife have been employed at the NICO site. Services and supplies for items such as aircraft, fuel and food needs are met by locally-based companies whenever possible.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 23 to October 31, 2009, at Fortune Mineral’s NICO property, along the route of a proposed all-weather access road, and along the route of a proposed transmission line from the Snare Hydro Project.