For the next decade, De Beers Group and the Attawapiskat First Nation will work side by side to monitor new fish habitat at the Victor mine closure site in Northern Ontario.
The monitoring agreement was developed collaboratively by De Beers and Attawapiskat and approved by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It details how the two parties will work together between now and 2033 to confirm that new fish habitat created at the former mine site is doing its job.
The new fish habitat was built to compensate for disturbance of the area during construction and operation of the mine.
A 10 hectare fish compensation pond was created within the footprint of an overburden storage area just south of the former open pit. The pond was constructed to be three to five metres deep to provide both spawning and over-wintering habitat to fish.
Vegetation is growing well along its banks and the boulder clusters, rocky shoals, and underwater berms installed within the pond are already providing the structure fish require to survive at various life stages. Earlier this year, close to 10,000 willow stakes were planted along the shore of the pond.
The pond creates habitat and spawning grounds for small bodied fish like Brook Stickleback, Finescale Dace and Iowa Darter, and larger fish like Northern Pike and White Sucker.
Other features around site were also turned into fish habitat, including former quarries and rehabilitated ponds, bringing the total new fish habitat on site to 14.2 hectares.
The habitat will be monitored at regular intervals between now and 2033. Two community members will be hired to work in the field alongside De Beers’ monitors to carry out the program. There are also provisions for visits by larger groups from the community in 2023 or 2025 and again in 2033, and community update presentations by De Beers on the fish habitat at the beginning and toward the end of the program.
Environmental monitoring of the site will continue through at least 2039.
The Victor mine site is located in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, approximately 100 km from Attawapiskat. The mine was discovered by De Beers in 1987 and produced 8.3 million carats between 2008 and mid-2019.
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