By Roman Hayter

The Newcor mine near Creighton has been undergoing restoration efforts due to a new project.

 The provincial government’s new remediation project currently covers six different mine sites that will be restored as part of the province’s way of addressing abandoned mine sites on Crown Land and reducing the number of contaminated sites in the province. 

Brent Zelensky, the project’s lead environmental protection officer, said that two of the mines that are a part of the remediation project are near Creighton. “They’re just outside of Creighton, those sites, and we have done some work on both of them to do directive action planning, which basically involves looking at where there is contaminated waste and coming up with plans to remediate that stuff as well as any old infrastructure that was at the site and taking care of any health and safety risks for that,” said Zelensky.

“So the Newcor mine operated in the 1940s before the government of Saskatchewan really had any kind of environmental regulations in place for these types of things. It was operated by a number of different companies over the years and ultimately abandoned by the Newcor company, and it sat for quite a few years. There was a little bit of risk assessment work and other work done at the site in the 1980s and early 1990s, and then we started to take a closer look at all of these sites in the early 2000s, with final planning starting in 2019 and remediation happening in 2021.” 

He explained that the current six mines chosen for the remediation project were picked due to their impacts on the environment and their levels of safety.

 “These sites are prioritized based on risk; there are actually 33 non-uranium abandoned mines in northern Saskatchewan, but these sites were identified because they posed the greatest risk to health, safety, and environmental risk, and so these are the ones we’re working on, and we’ve been addressing them based on which sites have the highest risk. Newcor was addressed first because it’s located on the shores of Douglas Lake, which is the drinking water source for the town of Creighton. We wanted to make sure that one was addressed first and foremost,” explained Zelensky. 

The other abandoned mine sites scheduled for work in the project are the Western Nuclear mine site, which is on the shores of Hanson Lake; the Vista Mine site near Creighton; the Anglo-Rouyn site, which lies in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park; the RottenStone mine site, which is 80 km north of Missinipe; and the Box Mine, which lies near Uranium City. All six mine remediation projects currently listed are expected to be completed within the next several years.