Agnico Eagle Mines
Research Collaboration Agreement
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is a leading Canadian gold mining company with a mine near the hamlet of Baker Lake, Nunavut. For several years Agnico has been working with the community to develop a strategy for upgrading the local wastewater treatment system. Given that Rob Jamieson’s research team has a decade of experience working on wastewater systems in remote Northern communities, Agnico sought a research collaboration agreement with Dr. Jamieson’s team, along with partners at University of Waterloo and University of Manitoba, to support this community development project.
In most Arctic communities, a passive wastewater treatment system is the preferred method because they don’t require a lot of energy or mechanical components to work (both of which come with challenges in remote communities in extreme cold weather climates). A community’s wastewater is typically collected and stored in a lagoon for up to a year. The lagoon freezes over each fall and begins to thaw in late spring. During the summer, effluent from the lagoon is discharged through a tundra wetland treatment system. Naturally occurring microorganisms and plants within the wetland facilitate a variety of biological, chemical, and physical processes that further treat the water before it’s discharged back into the environment.
This research collaboration, funded by NSERC and Agnico Eagle, is a 5-year project that tackles a redesign of Baker Lake’s current lagoon and wetland wastewater treatment system to improve fish habitat and human health outcomes. The research team will monitor the current conditions, work with Agnico and the community of Baker Lake to implement improvements, and then assess the impact of those improvements.
- Dr. Rob Jamieson
Professor, Department of Civil and Resource Engineering
Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Ecological Engineering