Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Lake Shore Gold Timmins West Mine Site – Site Visit Report, Tatachikapika River, by Larry Robichaud

Site Visit Report

Location: Lake Shore Gold Timmins West Mine Site

Date: December 6th 2011

Purpose: Effluent Treatment System Tour


Backgrounder: A report to the Ministry of Environment was submitted on October 27th 2011. The report was entered because of the river bank erosion and native forest deterioration below the end of pipe at the Tatachikapika River effluent discharge from the Timmins West mine. The ensuing intentions of the individual who submitted the report was to engage up front with the mining operation in an effort to find out how the river bank situation was to be fixed and also how the treatment system operates.

Mr. Anthony Makuch President of Lake Shore Gold called me 20 days later with the message that his operation’s management team would contact me within a few days to discuss my degree of participation and interest with regards to resolving the Tatachikapika River bank erosion issue.

On the 24th of November I attended an introductory meeting called by Mr Dan Gagnon, Vice President of Operation. Present also at the meeting were Danny Battiston, General Mine Manager, Brian Buss Director Project Development and Technical Services, Micheal Burns, Project Manager and Marcel Cardinal, Sr. Environmental Coordinator. It was agreed between all in attendance that I would be kept informed as to the developments toward eventual repair of the effluent end of pipe situation.  The next step was to have a site visit which was planned by Marcel Cardinal for the 6th of December. The purpose of that visit was to gain a better understanding of the effluent control system at the minesite before pumping to the end of pipe near the river.

Visit Outcome: On December 6th at 9:11 Tony Godin and I arrive at the Timmins West gate. I got permission from Dan Gagnon, VP of Operations to bring a member of our organization on the tour. After introductions and a brief meeting in Marcel Cardinal’s office, we went on the tour of the effluent system now in place. On our way out, we met with Dan Gagnon and Danny Battiston. Marcel showed us and explained the operations of the effluent system in place.  Once the field visit was completed, we returned to the office complex for some last few words with Marcel then we left the site at about 11 am.

Comments Concerns and Future Relations: It is obvious that plenty was accomplished at the minesite since my first visit about 2 years ago. The addition of an impressive effluent treatment plant of proportions beyond our expectations held centre stage. Although LS Gold had to develop some modified features to the original design, the capacity to manage its mine water is moving towards a secure and dependable installation. The addition of a second holding pond of the same size as the one that I had seen 2 years ago gives the effluent system more capacity and retention time. That combined with the water treatment plant gave us the confidence we needed that Lake Shore Gold has moved towards a better more efficient effluent control system.

Before we left the site, Tony and I offered possible assistance and/or passive observation of the unfolding of construction during the river bank repairs. We also requested copies of the “end of pipe” water sampling results based on the established Certificate of Approval monitored metals and chemicals. We also asked to be kept informed of the developments as they progress from the completion of the engineering design to the permitting and construction stages of the project to repair the river bank erosion. We were allowed to take pictures of the complex. We informed Marcel that since the initial report with MOE and the sharing of information with a group of followers from our community, who are also concerned about the preservation and protection of the Tatachikapika River watershed, that we will continue informing them on future developments. We also told Marcel that we will support and even communicate to the respective government agencies, the need to expedite the permit application process so the repairs are not rushed through a near spring season time frame. Repairs to the river bank must be done during the cold winter months.

Both Tony and I are confident that the river bank problem can and will be resolved permanently and that this will not become just another band aid repair like the last one. The emphasis on continuous efficient effluent water treatment then becomes the responsibility of the proprietor and the determination of the operations team to NOT allow exceedence to the established parameters. Capacity and willingness to STOP discharge to the river under adverse treatment situations must be in place to prevent river water contamination.

Report prepared by Laurent Robichaud