Environmental Baseline Surveys of the Fortune Minerals Ltd. NICO Project

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: mining, environmental baseline

Principal Investigator: Harris, Katherine M. (3)
Licence Number: 15428
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Feb 17, 2014

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

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

Surveys may include assessments of water (surface and groundwater), sediment, benthic invertebrates, plankton, fish, fish habitat, wetlands, geochemistry, and geotechnical. 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 NICO Project Access Road (NPAR) route.

Water and Sediment: Water and sediment quality surveys may be conducted within the NICO property on waterbodies within and downstream of the Project and along the NPAR route. These surveys will compliment surveys conducted since 1998. The water and sediment surveys will determine the baseline limnology and chemistry of the waterbodies. The water samples will consist of roughly 3 liters 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. In addition, groundwater samples may be collected from on-site monitoring wells.

Benthic invertebrates and Plankton: Benthic invertebrate and plankton surveys may be conducted within the NICO property on waterbodies within and downstream of the Project and along the proposed access road route and the proposed transmission line. 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 analyzed for chlorophyll a concentrations.

Fish and Fish habitat survey methods: An open water to late season fish and fish habitat survey may be conducted within the area potentially impacted by the Project footprint and along the NPAR route. These fish surveys will be completed to compliment surveys conducted since 1998. The survey will identify possible impacts from the mine and NPAR 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.

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 may be collected from the site and also from nearby reference sites that do not have naturally occurring elevated arsenic levels. Plant species surveys may be conducted to collect additional baseline information related to 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 may 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: Collection of leachate samples from previously constructed on-site waste rock and tailings field cells may occur during the open water season and submitted for chemical analysis. The results of leachate analysis will be used as additional information in the project design.

Participants from local communities will be asked to assist with the wildlife surveys. Fortune Minerals will continue to consult local communities regarding activities at the NICO Project. Communities will have opportunities to provide input into the wildlife study plans. Local knowledge collected from community assistants will be recorded.

Fortune Minerals has and will continue to host community meetings to discuss the Nico Project.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 17, 2014 to December 31, 2014.