EKATI Engineering and Environmental Monitoring Programs
Principal Investigator: Lee, Claudine (4)
Licence Number: 15573
Organization: Ekati Diamond Mine, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation
Licensed Year(s): 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Issued: Jan 16, 2015

Objective(s): To determine if the Ekati Diamond Mine is having an effect on the surrounding aquatic environment and air quality; and to provide baseline data for areas where mine development may occur in the future.

Project Description: The main objectives of the field work for 2014 to 2018 will be (1) to determine if the Ekati Diamond Mine is having an effect on the surrounding aquatic environment and air quality; and (2) to provide baseline data for areas where mine development may occur in the future.

In winter, water samples will be collected under ice using a 5L Niskin (a cylindrical PVC water sampler). During the week of spring freshet, hydrology and meteorology stations will be set up and their data loggers will be serviced approximately once a month until the end of the field season.

In summer, physical limnology measurements will be taken with a multi-meter which measures dissolved oxygen and temperature. Water quality and phytoplankton samples will be collected. Sampling equipment will include: multi-parameter water chemistry meters (for in situ measurement of pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity), water column samplers (for collection of water samples for laboratory analysis of parameters such as major ions, nutrients, and metals), and a GO-FLO (a cylindrical PVC) water sampler and sediment samplers (for collection of surface sediment samples for laboratory analysis of parameters such as particle size and metals). Samples will be taken during the open water and under-ice conditions.

Lower trophic organisms’ data will be collected as near-shore littoral, mid-depth, and deep water benthic invertebrate samples. Zooplankton samples will be collected using a conical mesh net towed through the water column. Lake benthos and sediment quality samples will be collected using an Ekman grab sampler (surface areas 0.0225m2). Supporting benthic information including water quality parameters and depth-integrated chlorophyll a and nutrient data will also be collected using standard lower trophic procedures and lower trophic sampling equipment. Stream benthos samples will be collected using artificial substrates (Hester-Dendy samplers) which consist of 9 plates stacked vertically with a total surface area of 0.09 m2.

Fish and fish habitat information will be collected from lakes and streams within the Ekati Claim Block. Fyke nets, gill nets, dip nets, minnow traps, angling, fish boxes, electrofishing and 1.5 inch sinking gillnets may be used to sample fish and tissue samples will be collected from fish.

Hydroacoustics data will be collected to describe fish population sizes and supplement lake substrate composition and habitat mapping surveys. Hydroacoustics sampling is a non-destructive method to actively quantify population sizes of pelagic fish, such as Lake Trout. The equipment will include Biosonics DT-X echounders (i.e., transducers) oriented for both horizontal and vertical split-beam sonar.

Air samples are collected by HVAS methods (High Volume Air Sampling) where large volumes of air are pulled through a filter that collects total suspended particulates. Snow samples are collected using a Mt. Rose sampler (corer). One species of lichen is sampled and vegetation is monitored using distribution surveys. Field data collected will include soil and vegetation type, surveys or ground inspections for rare plant and traditional use plant identification within the project area and along shorelines. Vascular and non-vascular vegetation will be collected for metals analysis. Soil will also be collected and analyzed for soil chemistry.

Field programs for air and noise will include surveys, baseline data collection of particulate concentrations and dust deposition rates, collect ambient concentrations of total suspended particulate (TSP) and particles with a nominal aerodynamic diameter using battery-operated sampling equipment, dustfall jar sampling, and passive sampling techniques.

The hydrology studies will include reconnaissance, installation of monitoring equipment, and hydrology surveys. Field equipment will include surveying, flow and water level monitoring, and bathymetric instruments.

Each year, results from the program will be made publicly available through Dominion Diamond Ekati Corp. and will be presented in a Summary Report that describes highlights of the program. Results of these studies will be communicated through regulatory engagement with key governments, stakeholders, and communities. Engagement activities will include community and technical workshops, regulator meetings, and community public meetings.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 12, 2015 to December 31, 2015.