The purpose of the RDI grant is to advance preliminary study of four major case studies across the North: Keno Hills (Yukon); and the Eldorado, Giant and Pine Point mines (Northwest Territories). These cases represent various regions, environments and time periods, yet all illustrate the intrusion of large-scale mining operations into hitherto lightly developed northern territories. The environmental legacies of these now-closed, sometimes abandoned mines are a continued source of health and safety concerns and regulatory challenges. At the time of their establishment and operation, each of these developments presented unprecedented economic and social opportunities and challenges to local First Nations.
Through archival research, field observations and the cultivation of community contacts, the principal investigators will undertake the documentation of social and environmental changes associated with mine development at these sites. The goal is to gain an overview of the history and current conditions of the sites and to create the basis for a future proposal to the SSHRC Northern Research Development Program to engage in collaborative community research with communities in the affected areas.
Although we only proposed the four case studies above in our original application, subsequent participation in a Harris Centre workshop in Labrador West has stimulated our interest in that region. We would like to conduct work on the history of iron mining, most likely using Schefferville as a case study.