Shortly after Arctic Canadian acquired the Ekati Mine in February 2021, the permitting process with Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board began for the Point Lake Project – a kimberlite pipe located close to the Misery Mine site at the Ekati Diamond Mine. As part of the permitting process, Arctic Canadian works closely with various stakeholders to include both Traditional Knowledge and western science, to ensure we are operating responsibly and efficiently, while mitigating our environmental footprint.
“This is an important part of the regulatory practice to ensure we are doing all that we can to uphold our sustainability goals and commitments as an operator,” said Dustin Chaffee, Regulatory Applications Manager with Arctic Canadian.
On June 10, 2022, Arctic Canadian received the Fisheries Act Authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada allowing for the fish-out of Point Lake. This is a major milestone, as in addition to obtaining the Water License and Land Use permits earlier this year, the Fisheries Act Authorization was the final permit Arctic Canadian required to begin the fish-out of Point Lake – an essential step before dewatering activities.
“While there are still a few regulatory requirements to check off the list, this is positive news for the Point Lake Project to progress to the next stages. As the permitting process at Point Lake continues to progress, production is expected to begin in 2023 and extend the life of the mine until 2029,” said Chaffee.
Design Matters: The Point Lake Project waste rock storage
Designing an environmentally sustainable waste rock storage area for mining projects is important for wildlife habitat management. The Point Lake Project Team was tasked with tackling this challenge, especially since the Point Lake area is populated by Bathurst caribou, which are identified as a species at risk by the NWT government. The team worked collaboratively to come up with an innovative design for how the waste rock should be placed, to avoid impacting the Bathurst caribou’s habitat. Part of the process included consultations with various community leaders and carefully analyzing the feedback given. “Collaboration with communities and regulators on Point Lake was key to the project’s success,” explains Chaffee. “We were able to make important modifications to the project based on these learnings, most notably designing a waste rock storage area that will have minimal impact on the environment.”
Next steps for the Point Lake Project include the start of construction for the waste rock storage area, once the fish-out and dewatering is complete.
The future is bright and full of opportunity at Ekati Diamond Mine and Point Lake is a big step in the right direction.