Great Bear Lake Remediation Project 

Backgrounder

The Great Bear Lake Remediation Project consists of reclaiming a number of now-abandoned mining and exploration properties which are now the responsibility of the Government of Canada. These include:

  • Silver Bear Mines (including the Terra, Northrim, Norex and Graham Vein, and Smallwood sites)
  • Contact Lake Mine
  • El Bonanza/Bonanza Mine
  • Sawmill Bay

These properties are approximately 250 km east of Délı̨nę and within the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim. A portion of the geographic area of the Silver Bear Mines also overlaps with the Tłı̨chǫ Mǫwhì Gogha Dè Nįįłèè Boundary.

In addition, the sites which compose the Great Bear Lake Remediation Project are all located within the Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve. This internationally recognized designation by UNESCO reflects the Délı̨nę community’s passion for maintaining the health of the lake, its watershed and the animals that inhabit it.

Maintaining the ecological integrity of Great Bear Lake and its watershed is of utmost importance to the people of Délı̨nę. As such, the sites will be remediated to a standard that is consistent with the objectives of the Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve.

The Great Bear Lake Remediation Project is funded through the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. Budget 2019 invested $49.9 million over 15 years ($2.2 billion on a cash basis), starting in 2020-21 to create the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program to exclusively address the largest and highest-risk abandoned mines in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

At the end of the 15-year program, active remediation is expected to be complete at seven of the eight mine sites. However, all sites will likely require ongoing care and monitoring to ensure the remediation measures continue working as planned.

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