Giant Mine

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Giant Mine
Giant Mine.jpg
Giant Mine
Giant Mine is located in Canada
Giant Mine
Giant Mine
Location in Canada
Territory Northwest Territories
Country Canada
Coordinates 62°29′59″N 114°21′31″W / 62.49972°N 114.35861°W / 62.49972; -114.35861Coordinates: 62°29′59″N 114°21′31″W / 62.49972°N 114.35861°W / 62.49972; -114.35861
Opened 1948
Closed 2004
Company Miramar Mining Corporation
Year of acquisition 1999

The Giant Mine was a large gold mine located on the Ingraham Trail just outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Gold was discovered on the property in 1935 by Johnny Baker, but the true extent of the gold deposits were not known until 1944 when a massive gold-bearing shear zone was uncovered beneath the drift-filled Baker Creek Valley. The discovery led to a massive post-war staking boom in Yellowknife. Giant Mine entered production in 1948 and ceased operations in 2004. It produced over 7,000,000 ozt (220,000 kg) of gold. [1][2]

On September 18, 1992, at the height of a labour dispute during the tenure of Royal Oak Mines ownership, an explosion in a drift of the mine, 750 ft (230 m) underground, killed nine strikebreakers and replacement workers riding in a man-car. Mine employee Roger Warren was later convicted of placing the bomb. The strike/lockout ended in 1993, pursuant to an order by the (then) Canada Labour Relations Board. A civil suit also resulted on behalf of the families of the replacement workers killed in the explosion (Fullowka v. Royal Oak Ventures Inc.)

Owners of the mine have included Falconbridge (1948-1986 through subsidiary Giant Yellowknife Mines Limited), Pamour of Australia (1986-1990 through subsidiary Giant Yellowknife Mines Limited), Royal Oak Mines (1990–1999), and Miramar Mining Corporation (1999–2004).

The Northwest Territories' first mining museum is to be built on the old property. The N.W.T. Mining Heritage Society is in charge of the work.

Giant Mine is within the Kam Group, which is part of the Yellowknife greenstone belt.


Mining operations over five decades has created a massive environmental liability, a problem which the mine's previous owners left to the Government of Canada and Government of the Northwest Territories to sort out. The Giant Mine contains 237,000 t (233,000 long tons; 261,000 short tons) of arsenic trioxide dust produced during the gold roasting process. This dust is water soluble and contains approximately 60% arsenic. The site's 950 ha (2,300 acres) footprint includes 8 open pits, 4 tailing ponds, 325,000 m3 (11,500,000 cu ft) of contaminated soils, and approximately 100 buildings including a roaster/bag house complex that is highly contaminated with arsenic and fibrous asbestos.[3] A $400 million (probably more) taxpayer-funded remediation project is underway. A main aspect of the successful proposed solution, known as the "Frozen Block Alternative," is to permanently freeze the arsenic trioxide storage chambers to keep groundwater seepage out.[4]


The events and aftermath of the Giant Mine labour dispute and explosion were dramatized in the 1996 CBC television movie Giant Mine. Additionally the contamination is the topic of the interactive documentary "Shadow of A Giant" [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Silke, Ryan. 2009. "The Operational History of Mines in the Northwest Territories, Canada" Self Published, November 2009.
  2. ^ Silke, Ryan. 2012. "High Grade Tales: Stories from mining camps of the Northwest Territories" Self Published, January 2012.
  3. ^ "Disaster brewing at Giant mine site". (July 10, 2006) news/north p.1
  4. ^ "Giant Mine Remediation Plan". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  5. ^ NNSL December 4th, 2013

External links[edit]