Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Dyno, Bicroft, and Madawaska Mines

In 2019, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staff completed the Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) in the Bancroft area, Ontario, which consists of the Dyno, Madawaska, and Bicroft decommissioned mine sites. The uranium tailings managed at these sites resulted from processing low-grade uranium ore at the associated mines.

Dyno decommissioned mine site

EWL Management Ltd. is licenced by the CNSC to manage the historic Dyno decommissioned mine site, located at Farrel Lake, about 30 kilometers southwest of Bancroft, Ontario. The mill at Dyno operated between 1958 and 1960. The site has been decommissioned and consists of capped mine openings, mine tailings and a containment dam. The Dyno decommissioned mine site is under long-term monitoring and maintenance.

Madawaska decommissioned mine site

EWL Management Ltd. is licenced by the CNSC to manage the historic decommissioned Madawaska mine site located near Bancroft, Ontario. Madawaska, operated between 1957 and 1982, and decommissioned in the 1980s. In 2015 EWL began rehabilitation and maintenance work on the two tailings management areas (TMA) and some of the underground workings. The Madawaska decommissioned mine site is under long-term monitoring and maintenance.

Bicroft decommissioned mine site

Barrick Gold Corporation is licenced by the CNSC to manage the decommissioned Bicroft tailings storage site, located in Cardiff, Ontario. The Bicroft site was constructed to contain tailings from mining operations that were carried out at the nearby Bicroft mine, which operated from 1956 to 1962. As part of the decommissioning, remediation work included vegetation of tailings in 1980 and upgrading of dams in 1990s.

EWL Management Ltd. and Barrick Gold Corporation implement an environmental monitoring program for the Dyno, Madawaska and Bicroft decommissioned sites respectively, to ensure that their safety systems are operating as planned and to demonstrate that they are meeting their human and environmental safety requirements as required by the NSCA and their licences.

Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results from 2019, along with conclusions of available health studies for uranium processing facilities, confirm that the public and the environment in publically accessible locations in the vicinity of the Bancroft mines are protected and that there are no expected health impacts.  

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

Dyno, Bicroft, and Madawaska Mines

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2019 Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Sample Code
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 1.6 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 38.91 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 16.47 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 18.72 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 15.92 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 53.31 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 33187 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 0.98 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium <0.31 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 22.0 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 8.44 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM01-SE01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 635 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM01-SE01
Water Surface water Uranium 0.03 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Copper 0.34 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Nickel 0.32 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Zinc 0.95 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Iron 175 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.09 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Cobalt 0.05 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM01-W01
Water Surface water Manganese 27.44 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM01-W01
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 3.3 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 42.51 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 9.95 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 13.36 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 17.28 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 55.56 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 32889 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 1.29 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium <0.31 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 425.0 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 8.48 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM02-SE02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 650 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM02-SE02
Water Surface water Uranium 0.50 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Copper 0.25 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Nickel 0.31 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Zinc 1.13 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Iron 193 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.05 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Radium-226 0.07 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Cobalt 0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM02-W02
Water Surface water Manganese 75.72 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM02-W02
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 8.44 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 36.04 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 19.18 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 24.41 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 15.26 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 145 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 36830 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 3.39 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.83 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 131.0 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 13.79 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM04-SE04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 980 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM04-SE04
Water Surface water Uranium 0.13 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Copper 0.47 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Nickel 0.31 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Iron 106 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.10 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Manganese 0.73 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM04-W04
Water Surface water Uranium 0.13 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Copper 0.18 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Nickel <0.25 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Iron 151 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.04 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Manganese 0.90 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM05-W05
Water Surface water Uranium 29.50 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Copper 0.50 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Nickel 0.41 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Iron 5.06 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Arsenic <0.03 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Radium-226 0.04 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM07-W07
Water Surface water Manganese <0.30 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM07-W07
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 15.91 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 32.50 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 11.49 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 17.38 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 14.86 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 51.17 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 31410 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 0.73 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium <0.31 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 734.0 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 8.19 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM09-SE09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 522 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM09-SE09
Water Surface water Uranium 20.12 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Copper 0.42 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Nickel 0.36 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Iron 39.68 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.09 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Radium-226 0.04 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM09-W09
Water Surface water Manganese 86.06 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM09-W09
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 4.57 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 38.95 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 15.25 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 26.67 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 14.87 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 50.74 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 26938 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 1.44 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium <0.31 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 68.2 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 7.31 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM10-SE10
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 479 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM10-SE10
Water Surface water Uranium 0.07 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Copper 0.61 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Nickel <0.25 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Zinc 1.74 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Iron 75.44 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.05 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Manganese 8.80 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM10-W10
Water Surface water Uranium 0.22 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Copper 0.47 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Nickel 0.27 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Iron 13.48 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.05 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Manganese 0.93 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM12-W12
Water Surface water Uranium 0.22 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Copper 0.45 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Nickel 0.26 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Iron 11.78 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.09 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Manganese <0.30 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM13-W13
Water Surface water Uranium 0.55 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Copper 0.57 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Lead 0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Nickel 0.29 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Zinc 1.05 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Iron 122 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.07 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Cobalt 0.05 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Manganese 46.95 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM14-W14
Water Surface water Uranium 0.03 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Copper 0.45 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Nickel <0.25 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Iron 9.10 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.06 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM15-W15
Water Surface water Manganese 0.36 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM15-W15
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Uranium 1.49 mg/kg 32 - 104 mg/kg No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Chromium 33.04 mg/kg 37.3 - 160 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Copper 14.37 mg/kg 16 - 110 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Lead 14.63 mg/kg 35 - 91.3 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Nickel 14.32 mg/kg 16 - 75 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Zinc 44.72 mg/kg 123 - 315 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Iron 28489 mg/kg 20000 - 40000 mg/kg No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Arsenic 0.55 mg/kg 5.9 - 17 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cadmium <0.31 mg/kg 0.6 - 10 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Radium-226 23.3 Bq/kg 4800 Bq/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt 7.79 mg/kg 16.7 mg/kg dry weight No BM16-SE16
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Manganese 476 mg/kg 460 - 1100 mg/kg No BM16-SE16
Water Surface water Uranium 0.21 µg/L 15 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Chromium <0.10 µg/L 8.9 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Copper 0.34 µg/L 2 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Lead <0.06 µg/L 1 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Nickel <0.25 µg/L 25 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Zinc <0.80 µg/L 30 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Iron 17.09 µg/L 300 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Arsenic 0.12 µg/L 5 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.03 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Radium-226 <0.01 Bq/L 0.5 Bq/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Cobalt <0.04 µg/L 0.9 µg/L No BM16-W16
Water Surface water Manganese 0.44 µg/L 430 µg/L No BM16-W16

1 The < symbol indicates that a result is below the provided laboratory analytical detection limit.

2 N/A – not available

CNSC staff  collecting sediment sample near Bancroft mine sites in 2019.

CNSC staff collecting sediment sample near Bancroft mine sites in 2019.

Background

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), licensees of nuclear facilities are required to implement environmental monitoring programs to demonstrate that the public and the environment are protected from emissions related to the facilities’ activities. The results of these monitoring programs are submitted to the CNSC to ensure compliance within applicable guidelines and limits, as set out in regulations that oversee Canada’s nuclear industry.

The CNSC has implemented its IEMP to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are protected. It is separate from, but complimentary to the CNSC’s ongoing compliance verification programs. The IEMP involves taking samples from public areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radioactive and hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC’s independent laboratory for testing and analysis. The area around the Bancroft mines was sampled in 2019.

2019 results

IEMP sampling at Bancroft mines for 2019 focused on radioactive and hazardous contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on the licensees’ environmental monitoring programs, and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the areas around the sites. In August 2019, samples were collected in locations around the Bancroft mines and included samples of sediment and water. The concentrations of radioactive and hazardous contaminants in water samples were below screening levels and federal and provincial guidelines with the exception of two water samples.

While uranium concentrations at two water sampling locations exceeded the guideline for the protection of aquatic life (15 µg/L) issued by the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CCME), they have significantly decreased since decommissioning of Madawaska with improvement over the last two decades. These results are also slightly above the Ontario provincial drinking water standard (20 µg/L) but are well within the range of safety margins incorporated into the development of this standard (i.e., 100 fold safety factor incorporated). It should also be noted that none of the samples taken were from locations that should be used as untreated drinking water sources.

The sediment results indicate little to no environmental impact as they are either similar to those measured at the reference stations, below the screening guidelines, or marginally above the lower bounding guideline value. As this sampling campaign was completed in watersheds supporting mining, slightly elevated concentrations are to be expected as demonstrated by the number of reference stations exceeding the lower bounding values.

Furthermore, multiple environmental and human health assessments have been completed by the licensee and/or federal-provincial authorities over the last two decades and demonstrate no unreasonable risk.

Focus on health

The CNSC also conducts studies and reviews third-party research to assess the health of the public near nuclear facilities. For example, the CNSC funded a study conducted by Cancer Care Ontario to examine the risk of lung cancer mortality among miners who worked at the Bancroft, Elliot Lake, and Agnew historical mine sites from 1954 to 1996. The study concluded that in general, for all causes of death, male mine workers were healthier than the general male population, and their health was similar to that of the general male population, considering all causes of cancer death. However, uranium miners did have higher lung cancer mortality than the general male population, due to working in conditions prior to radon protection measures. As radon exposure increases, the likelihood of developing lung cancer increases. Ontario miners also had higher rates of silicosis, from exposure to ore with high silica content.

Find out more about the health of past miners, including those from Elliot Lake mines, in Ontario Uranium Miners Cohort Study Report.

CNSC staff have also reviewed the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit’s Population Health Assessment, which includes Bancroft and found that cancer rates were comparable to those in other similar regions where there are no nuclear facilities.

For more general health information and data for your community, visit the following websites:

Conclusions

IEMP results from 2019 indicate that the public and the environment around the Bancroft mine sites are protected and there are no expected health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by the EWL Management Ltd. and Barrick Gold Corporation demonstrating that the licensees’ environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.

The CNSC is transitioning to an online reporting format for the IEMP. All IEMP information will be available on the online dashboard once this upgrade is complete. The CNSC recommends referencing online material for the most up to date and accurate data.

Date modified: