Environmental Baseline Surveys of the Fortune Minerals Ltd. NICO Project
Principal Investigator: Harris, Katherine M. (3)
Licence Number: 15214
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Mar 13, 2013

Objective(s): To collect baseline environmental information for future environmental effects monitoring.

Project Description: The objective of this research project is to collect baseline environmental information for future environmental effects monitoring.

Surveys may include assessments of fish, fish habitat, benthic invertebrates, plankton, water and sediment quality, wetlands and geochemistry. 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.

All surveys will take place within the study area which is defined by a radius of 15 km around the proposed mine site, and a 5 km buffer on each side of the proposed all-weather access road route.

Fish and Fish habitat survey methods: An open water 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 and the proposed transmission line. These fish surveys will be completed to compliment surveys conducted since 1998. The survey will identify possible impacts from the mine and access road on fish habitat. Various fish collection techniques including angling, 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.

Benthic invertebrates and Plankton: Benthic invertebrates will be collected from depositional areas using an Ekman dredge. Plankton collection techniques will include collecting discrete water samples using a Kemmerer as well as vertical tows using a 153 um Nitex mesh plankton net. In addition, water will be filtered and analysed for chlorophyll a concentrations.

Water and Sediment methods: Late winter and summer 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. The water samples will consist of roughly 3 litres of surface water collected by hand. Sediment samples will be collected from either sediment cores or grab samples using an Ekman dredge, depending on the substrate type.

Wetlands: As part of an ongoing project to design and engineer the constructed wetland proposed for use at the NICO Project site, it is the objective to scientifically determine the characteristics and ongoing processes of existing wetlands in the area that remove naturally occurring arsenic from the water. Plant, sediment, and water samples will be collected from the site and also from nearby reference sites that do not have naturally occurring elevated arsenic levels.

Plant species surveys will be conducted to identify the dominant wetland plant species in the area. Samples of these plants will be collected and returned for further analysis in laboratories in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Surveys and sampling will be conducted to identify potential sources of wetland plants and hydrosoils near the mine site that could serve as borrow material for the implementation of future treatment wetlands.

Geochemistry survey methods: Additional geotechnical Investigations to be conducted on the NICO property around the perimeter of the proposed tailings basin, to better delineate the permafrost temperature profile with depth, and on the proposed footprints of building foundations. These investigations will also confirm that certain areas that will be buried by mine rock, tailings, or buildings are not sitting on potential ore.

Results from the monitoring program at NICO will be submitted to the regulatory agencies and communities through land use permits and water licence processes.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.