Environmental, emotional and process remediations needed for for Keno Hill area


Staff member
By Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As Keno City grapples with the imminent loss of its waste transfer station and other services, local outcry dovetails with problems caused by renewed mining in the region.
In 1989 both Keno City and Mayo faced uncertain futures after the United Keno Hill Mine closed abruptly and the company-owned town of Elsa was abandoned.
In 2006, a junior company, Alexco Development and Remediation purchased the remaining assets and liabilities of United Keno from the federal government and their receiver for $410,000 and a $10 million deposit, with a court-approved intention of ultimate reclamation which wouldn’t require ongoing water treatment.
Since this time, Mayo and Keno City have had very different relationships to Alexco’s mine redevelopment projects in the Keno Hill area.
One community has a comprehensive benefits agreement through Na-cho Nyak Dun, while Keno City residents were promised mitigations but have experienced a slow decline in their quality of life.
Dawson City’s Allie Winton is a geographer who conducted her master’s thesis exploring the complex social impacts of mine closure and redevelopment of the area. She completed her thesis in December 2020.
Winton found that Mayo and Keno City were affected differently by the renewed mining activity. Each had suffered from the sudden closure of the Elsa operation, but the subsequent redevelopment boom did not...continued.

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