Lichen Sampling Program - Diavik 2013

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, biology, mining impacts, lichen, risk assessment, caribou

Principal Investigator: Wells, David A (7)
Licence Number: 15229
Organization: Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2010 2005
Issued: Apr 12, 2013
Project Team: Kristin Moore (Supervisor, Diavik), Dwight Grabke (Supervisor, Diavik), Darcy Bourassa (Technician, Diavik), Dianne Dul (Technician, Diavik), Justin Grandjambe (Technician, Diavik), 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. 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.

Project Description: The aim of this research project 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 approximately 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 approximately 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. 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.

The results of this project will be available through an annual report that is produced and distributed to various communities and regulators.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 15, 2013 to October 15, 2013.