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May 26, 2022
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is partnering with Gahcho Kué Mine to build a bridge at the Redknife River crossing on the Mackenzie Highway that will restore fish passage for migratory species.
In this unique and mutually beneficial partnership, Gahcho Kué will contribute $9.5 million, with the GNWT pledging the balance of costs. For Gahcho Kué, the project is compensation for disturbance to fish habitat in Kennady Lake by construction of the mine. For the GNWT, the project is part of a larger initiative to improve stream and river highway crossings throughout the NWT’s highway system.
Highway 1 crosses the Redknife River approximately 181 kilometres southeast of Fort Simpson, and approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Sambaa Deh Territorial Park.
Currently, there are three structurally sound culverts installed underneath the highway that present a barrier obstructing migratory fish from being able to effectively access areas upstream on a seasonal basis. Contributing factors causing this disruption include erosion to the downstream side of the riverbed, along with fluctuations in water levels that are expected to continue as climate change causes more extreme weather events.
Planning for the project began in 2021, and construction is expected to get underway in the third quarter of 2023 and will take about three years to complete.
The project was selected from numerous options identified after several years of study by Gahcho Kué and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Under the DFO authorization for the mine, fish habitat compensation must be directed to projects that restore damage to habitat from human caused activities. The Redknife River was selected as the project that best meets these requirements.
Gahcho Kué Mine is a joint venture between De Beers Group (51% – the Operator) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%). The mine is located 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. The mine opened in 2016 and has a life of mine until 2030.
“We have a responsibility to make a positive impact on nature and to protect it for future generations. We are pleased to partner on this project that will help bring fish back to upstream portions of the Redknife River and develop new infrastructure that will benefit NWT residents for years to come.”
– Lyndon Clark, General Manager of Gahcho Kué Mine
“The GNWT is committed to working with partners, including industry partners, to improve infrastructure and ensure functional stream crossing structures. The construction of the new bridge at Redknife River crossing is an example of how the GNWT is working with partners to improve transportation infrastructure in the NWT, make public infrastructure more resilient to climate change and improve connections between communities.”
– Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure
For media requests, please contact:
Department of Infrastructure
Government of the Northwest Territories
Senior Communications Officer
De Beers Group Managed Operations – Canada
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