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Contaminated sites of old mines or factories are expensive for the territories

Contaminated sites of old mines or factories are expensive for the territories

Former mineral resource extraction projects are also among the most costly sites for which the territories are responsible.

Lewis Rifkind, a mining analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, argues that unlike contaminated sites under Canadian responsibility, where federal money benefits the territory’s economy, sites under territorial control have financial and environmental consequences. terrible.

All the money the Yukon government spends on this could go to things we really needdid he declare.

Yukon’s 2021-22 public accounts include approximately $94.6 million to remediate 100 sites. The two largest are the Wolverine mine ($39 million) and the Wellgreen mill and tailings site (about $15.5 million).

According to Rifkind, mining companies rake in the profits and abandon sites when things go wrong, leaving taxpayers the mess. We privatize profit and socialize risk. This must changedoes he think.

It is essential for him to require companies to provide a deposit for the estimated clean-up cost once a mine has ceased operations.

For example, Yukon Zinc, the bankrupt former owner of the Wolverine mine, which ceased operations in 2015, failed to pay the full $35.5 million financial guarantee required for closure and site remediation.

The Yukon government said it has spent $27.9 million on the site since 2018, of which only $10.5 million was covered by the financial guarantee filed by Yukon Zinc.

Other big liabilities in other territories

In the Northwest Territories, the 2021-2022 public accounts include more than $99 million in environmental liabilities for 248 sites. The highest costs relate to abandoned mines, including nine sites estimated at more than $31 million.

When Nunavut became a territory in 1999, it took over ownership of the sites and activities associated with tank farms and power generation plants.

The two costliest contaminated sites for Nunavut are the former City of Clyde River site (nearly $4 million) and the former Clyde River solid waste dump (estimated cost over $2.4 million). of dollars).

This article by Emily Blake was produced with the financial support of Meta Scholarships and with La Canadian Press for news.

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