Lichen Sampling Program - Diavik

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, mining, lichen, risk assessment

Principal Investigator: Bourn, Stephen (2)
Licence Number: 14787
Organization: Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2010 2005
Issued: Aug 10, 2010
Project Team: Krisitin Moore (Supervisor, DDMI), Leslie Coe (Supervisor, DDMI), Remainder to be determined

Objective(s): To determine whether dust generated from mining activities is causing a measurable change in dust deposition to and/or metals uptake in lichen closer to and further from the mine.

Project Description: The goal of this study is to determine whether dust generated from mining activities is causing a measurable change in dust deposition to and/or metals uptake in lichen closer to and further from the mine. If a significant difference in uptake is noted closer to versus further from the mine, a health risk assessment to caribou may be conducted to determine risks associated with consumption of vegetation.

Lichen samples will be obtained from 20 locations close to mine infrastructure, and a portion of these locations will be linked to existing dust fall monitoring stations. Lichen samples will also be obtained from 20 locations located a distance of 30 to 40 km away from the mine. Soil samples will also be obtained from areas near lichen samples, in order to determine geological influence of metals levels in lichen compared with depositional levels. Samples will be obtained from each direction around the mine site, as identified in the maps attached to this application. Soil and lichen samples will be submitted for a full suite of metals analysis, and samples will not be washed in order to best represent what caribou eat. Some samples will be split for a washed and unwashed sample in order to be able to compare results to those from the previous year’s study (washed). It is intended to also utilize Traditional Knowledge in this study by involving an Elder in sample site selection, identification of caribou food and qualitative observations of plant health and dust levels at all locations sampled.

Local Elder and translator (depending on languages spoken) will be involved in the study for TK input in to sample locations regarding dust levels and identification of caribou food.

An annual report is produced and distributed to various communities and regulators.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 10, 2010 to October 1, 2010.