Environmental Monitoring and Research

Comparing the Measurements of Airborne Particulate Matter Around a Mine and an Ambient Site within the Bathurst Caribou Summer Range

Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 15:00 to 15:19 Theatre 3


W.J. Chen (Presenting)
Natural Resources Canada

S.G. Leblanc
Natural Resources Canada

H.P. White
Natural Resources Canada

B. Croft
NWT Environment and Natural Resources

A. Patenaude
NWT Environment and Natural Resources

K. Clark
NWT Environment and Natural Resources

J.S. Pellissey
Wek'èezhìi Renewable Resources Board

L. Meinert
Wek'èezhìi Renewable Resources Board

J. Hum
Tlicho Government

A. Gunn
CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network

J. Boulanger
Integrated Ecological Research Ltd.

Many community members and decision makers in governments and industries have a keen interest in understanding the mechanisms of the zone of influence on caribou by mining operations. This understanding is fundamental to design and implement mitigation measures effectively. Caribou might alter their behaviour when they hear a noise from a mining operation, see a mining operation, taste a difference in forage due to dustfall, or smell a difference in the concentration of airborne particulates matter (e.g., fine particulates matter less than 2.5 micrometer PM2.5, or the total suspended particulates TSP). How far can these mining-generation disturbances reach? At what temporal frequency do these disturbances occur? Answering these questions is especially challenging for PM2.5 and TSP because they are highly variable temporally and spatially, affected by local sources at a mine and/or far away sources (e.g., forest fire smokes), and dependent on weather conditions (e.g., time since the last rain event, wind direction, and wind speed). To address this challenge, we conducted measurements of PM2.5 and TSP at locations around the Ekati Diamond Mine during the summers of 2016 and 2017, and at an ambient location near the Daring Lake Tundra Ecosystem Research Station during the summer of 2018. In this presentation, we will compare results between measurements at the Ekati mine and the ambient location. Specifically, we attempt to address the following questions. Were the concentrations of TSP and PM2.5 measured near the mine significantly higher than those measured at the ambient site? How did the increases in the concentration of TSP and PM2.5 happen? What were the difference and similarities in terms of impacts of weather conditions and source locations between the mine and the ambient site?