Aug. 19: Environment May Not Recover from Contamination from Giant Mine

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According to a study published by the Royal Society of Canada, lakes near Yellowknife’s Giant Mine may never return to their natural state. The mine, which operated from 1948 to 2004, left behind underground caverns filled with 237,000 tonnes of arsenic and a 95-hectare surface site poisoned with 13.5 million tonnes of arsenic-contaminated tailings. Although the mine has been dormant for 12 years, fresh sediments in Pocket Lake remain tainted with arsenic at levels that far exceed safety thresholds. In addition, entire classes of tiny plants and animals were wiped out during the peak years of contamination and have never come back.