Tour of the Gunnar Mine, (Rayrock) Remediation Project

On August 22-23, 2022, The Tłı̨chǫ Government and members of the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà Elders Committee visited the Fon du Lac First Nation in the northern Athabasca region of Saskatchewan to share their experiences with mine remediation and to tour the nearby Gunnar Mine. The Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà Elders Committee met with Fon Du Lac leadership and community members to learn about mine remediation, specific remediation activities (such as revegetation and tailings covers), and to build a collaborative working relationship that the Tłı̨chǫ Government can understand how to successfully plan for a remediation project that ensures community members can feel safe to return to the land.

Pictured above: members of the Fon du Lac First Nation, Tłı̨chǫ Government, and the Saskatchewan Research Council in Fon du Lac, Saskatchewan.

The Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà Elders Committee have been working on the remediation and restoration of Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà (the Rayrock mine) for since it was abandoned in the 1960s. Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà remains an important area to the Tłı̨chǫ people as a place where Tłı̨chǫ families used to live, camp, travel through, and harvest. The priority of the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà (Rayrock) remediation project is to make the area safe again for Tłı̨chǫ use by learning through partnerships with First Nations communities who have actively participated in mining remediation projects.

At the Gunnar Mine, the Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà Elders Committee toured the site with community members from Fon du Lac and the Saskatchewan Research Council, who are  reading the remediation work at site. Here they learned about remediation work already underway that could help to inform the remediation and restoration of the Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà (Rayrock) mine within Tłı̨chǫ lands. The communities and the remediation team shared experiences and stories about the economic opportunities that can be maximized from remediation work, such as employment, training, and joint venture opportunities.

This trip was an important and symbolic moment between the Tlicho Government and the Fon du Lac First Nation where Indigenous communities are at the helm of remediation work and  ensuring that Indigenous knowledge and values are guiding the cleanup work, including Kwetı̨ı̨ɂaà (Rayrock), the Gunnar Mine and other sites in the future.

Pictured above: the approximate distance between Yellowknife and Fond du Lac First Nation in Saskatchewan.

For more information, please contact:
Violet Camsell-Blondin
Lands Regulation Manager
Tłı̨chǫ Ndek'àowo / Tłı̨chǫ Government
Phone: (867) 392-6381

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