Canada has announced plans to spend $2.2 billion for the remediation of abandoned mines in the North.
The CBC reported that Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, was in Yellowknife announce the government's intention to spend $2.2 billion over 15 years on remediation of the eight highest-risk abandoned mine sites in Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Money for the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program was previously set out in the 2019 federal budget. However, dollars would not begin flowing until the 2020-2021 fiscal year, after the federal election in October.
In the Yukon, the program would target the Faro, United Keno Hill, Mount Nansen, Ketza River and Clinton Creek mines.
In the Northwest Territories, it would cover Giant, Cantung and a group of mines on Great Bear Lake.
According to the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, contamination at these sites is the result of private-sector mining and oil and gas work, as well as government military activity, that took place when "environmental impacts were not fully understood."
The government states the Northern Contaminated Sites Program would allow for longer-term tenders for contract work at these sites, which would provide greater certainty to the affected communities.
It also states the program would "promote new economic opportunities for Indigenous people and northerners" at these remediation projects.
In a press release issued Monday, Bennett stated, "Indigenous and northern communities must be able to meaningfully participate in and benefit from the government of Canada's investment in cleaning up northern contaminated sites."