The Giant Mine cleanup team says the project may be complete by 2030.
The group released a timeline for the next 12 years of the project, which includes a townsite demolition and underground freeze in 2021.
Chris MacInnis, project director for the Giant Mine Remediation Project, said it has been a fairly lengthy process, but it feels good to have some sort of end date in sight.
“Between [2022 and 2030] the key driver for us will be submitting our water licence,” said MacInnis.
“I’m excited … I’m an engineer and my value has always been in the construction phase, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
Waiting on water licence
In January the project team will apply to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water board for a water licence. The process to obtain a licence will take about 18 months; MacInnis said if all goes well they could have it by June 2020.
Once they have the water licence, the head contractor will receive bids from businesses looking to clean up the site.
Doug Townson, senior project manager, said there is a lot to look forward to for the future of the remediation project.
“The project is becoming much more real,” said Townson. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for a number of northern businesses and contractors to get involved in the process and we’re really looking forward to getting it into the next phase.”
Calling on northern business
Once the licence is obtained, Parsons Inc. — a California-based contractor — will distribute contracts to the bidders.
Parsons was chosen as the lead contractor on the project by the federal government, earlier this year. It has promised to invest $32 million in care and maintenance over the next two years.
Katherine Bogus, procurement team leader for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said companies have a mandate to hire local.
Getting northern businesses and Indigenous people involved with the project is key, said Bogus.
She said all contract opportunities will appear on Merx — a private construction website.
The federal government estimates the total cost of remediation to be over $900 million.
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Iron mines in Arctic Norway could soon re-open, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Ships carry ore from Canadian Arctic through Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Iron mine in northern Sweden to restart production, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: America’s most toxic site is in the Alaskan Arctic, Cryopolitics Blog