De Beers Snap Lake Mine - 2011-2014 Environmental Monitoring Program

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, mining, environmental monitoring

Principal Investigator: Hood, Alexandra E (6)
Licence Number: 15025
Organization: De Beers Canada Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 2000 1999
Issued: Feb 26, 2012

Objective(s): To fulfill the requirements outlined under the Snap Lake Mine's Land Use Permit, Water License, Environmental Agreement, and Fisheries Authorization, and to meet De Beers’ corporate commitments on the environment.

Project Description: The objective of the environmental monitoring program is to fulfill the requirements outlined under the Snap Lake Mine's Land Use Permit, Water License, Environmental Agreement, and Fisheries Authorization, and to meet De Beers’ corporate commitments on the environment.

The environmental monitoring program will cover an assessment of aquatics (benthic invertebrates, fish, water quality, plankton, and sediment quality), hydrology, geochemistry and North Pile environmental inspection & geotechnical assessments, wildlife, vegetation, air quality and archaeology.

The aquatics program involves the monitoring of; water quality, sediment quality, zooplankton, phytoplankton and benthic communities, fish, fish habitat and fish health as outlined under the June 2005 Aquatics Effects Monitoring Program. Additional fish monitoring studies at the diffuser will be conducted as part of the fish habitat compensation program.

The hydrology program includes the monitoring of lake levels, streamflow, and outflows through the use of dataloggers; the measurement of site runoff at on-site Surveillance Network Program (SNP) monitoring stations; and the download and processing of hydro-meteorological data to calculate lake evaporation for the water balance analysis.

The geochemistry program is part of the annual Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) program as required under the Water License and presented in the October 2005 Ore Storage, Waste Rock, and Processed Kimberlite Management Plan. The program requires an annual site inspection to monitor site runoff/seepage and review the placement of materials and identify any signs of acid generation. The North Pile monitoring program is also presented in this Plan and focuses on monitoring the
geotechnical stability and temperature of the waste rock piles on-site. North Pile geotechnical investigations include geotechnical drilling.

The vegetation monitoring program consists of assessing the area of impact of Mine activities on vegetation, assess changes in the Ecological Land Classification units of vegetation within the local study area and esker quarry area and also involves monitoring permanent plots in test and control areas to determine species composition and plant health, and the effect of various reclamation methods on re-vegetation and soil properties. This program includes the collection of lichen and vascular plants to measure potential contaminant uptake levels from areas in proximity to dust fall.

The air quality monitoring program involves the collection and processing of meteorological data from the onsite weather station, and the download and measuring of particulate matter and dustfall from sampling stations on site.

Underground water quality and quantity will be monitored as per the Water License and corporate commitments which also includes fracture, grouting, and drill-hole management (including monitoring existing drill holes within Snap Lake).

De Beers has been proactive in providing information to local communities as the mine has developed. Discussions have been held from 1998 to the present with the following communities that have completed Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) with De Beers: Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Tlicho Government, the North Slave Metis Alliance, and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nations. Members of these communities have also participated as field assistants where possible, in the implementation of the various environmental monitoring programs.

Aboriginal communities also partake in the Snap Lake Working Group (SLWG); a multi stake holder group chaired by representatives from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB) and consisting of De Beers, federal and territorial regulatory agencies, and Aboriginal community members. The mandate of the SLWG is to review and provide recommendations on the environmental monitoring and management plans that fall under the jurisdiction of the MVLWB.

Aboriginal communities also partake in the Snap Lake Environmental Monitoring Agency (SLEMA) a group comprised of Aboriginal governments, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) and Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). This group acts as the community watch dog that monitors all the licences and is mandated under the environmental Agreement.

De Beers believes that projects should benefit and add to the sustainability of local communities. Socioeconomic development is a primary focus through community participation in employment. Some of the Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) initiatives include the Education is Forever in Wha Ti commuinty school, contribution to the NWT Industrial Mining Skills Strategy Project and Aboriginal Skills training (Kimberlite Career Center) and Participation in the Books in Homes Program.

Results of these studies are summarized in annual reports as required under the Mine’s Water License and Environmental Agreement. These documents are circulated to the appropriate government agencies, members of the Snap Lake Working Group, and aboriginal organizations that are party to the Environmental Agreement. These documents are part of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board public registry. The public registry can be viewed at the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board office or online at the Board’s website. A 200 word maximum plain language summary of the results for programs under the ARI permit is submitted to ARI.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 27, 2012 to December 31, 2012.