In early August, Selkirk First Nation, Minto Explorations Ltd., and the Government of Yukon released the Minto Mine Socio-Economic Monitoring Program’s 2015 Annual Report.

According to the report’s executive summary, “the purpose of this report is to determine if, and how, the activities of the Minto Mine may be affecting Yukon, Selkirk First Nation citizens, and residents of Pelly Crossing.” Indeed, the evaluation lists the people’s connection to land and water as a metric.

“Monitoring and assessing the social, economic and cultural effects of Minto is of high value as it supports a proactive management approach where mitigation measures in these areas can be adapted, if required,” said Yves Brouillette, PEng, MBA, mine general manager, Minto Mine.

The annual socio-economic report provides baseline information and trends from the start of the mine’s life in 2005 until the end of 2015. This reporting compliments the work of Minto Mine’s parent company, Capstone Mining Corp., in its annual sustainability reporting.

Minto mine site in Yukon territory. Image Credit: Capstone Mining Corp.

“A key example of long-term focus is Minto’s ongoing research into the use of a constructed wetland for passive water treatment in closure. Testing and refining closure planning assumptions during operations will help ensure future success,” said Brouillette.

According to the 2017 sustainability report, “Minto relies on precipitation and surface run-off as a water source, and typically has a surplus of water. Water management focuses on maintaining sufficient storage capacity on site, and minimizing the amount of water that needs to be treated.” Effluent discharge from the site is also regulated by the mine’s water licence. Capstone’s management of effluent is also governed by its engagement with Selkirk First Nation: “Water quality in Minto Creek related to potential impacts on fish is a concern of Selkirk First Nation.”

Water withdrawal by source type for Capstone mines. Credit: Capstone Mine Corp.

A key feature of the socio-economic report is the inclusion of information from a household survey of 271 Selkirk First Nation citizens living in Pelly Crossing and other Yukon communities. The survey collected socio-economic and socio-cultural information about living conditions.

“Minto and Selkirk First Nation work closely through a bilateral technical working group focused on development of closure water quality objectives, water treatment design, and routing of water conveyance ditches,” said Brouillette.

The Minto Mine Socio-Economic Monitoring program started in 2014. In addition to water quality, the three parties agreed to monitor the social, economic, and cultural effects of the Minto Mine with the cost of implementation shared among the three parties.

The 2015 report is the second annual report of the monitoring program. The third annual report will combine data for the 2016 and 2017 calendar years.

Canadian Water Summit

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