Bringing Life Back to Yellowknife’s Frame Lake

June 2024, Canadian Product Ltd. participates in the revival of Yellowknife’s infamous Frame Lake.

This lake, which is anoxic in winter, is also contaminated by old arsenic sediments dumped by former gold mines that were also responsible for the founding of the city of Yellowknife in the early 1930s. These activities have unfortunately left behind a lake that was once rich in fish as a dead lake, unable to renew itself. Winter anoxia contributes to the leaching of arsenic, which increases in winter and decreases each summer in the presence of oxygen. Winter anoxia is therefore the target of this project.

The mining company Rio Tinto, operating the Diavik diamond mine located north of Yellowknife, has offered to compensate for the disruption of fish habitat on its mining site by offering to revitalize Frame Lake.

Rio Tinto consulted to find a lake aeration solution and adapt it to the difficult winter conditions of the Canadian far north. It was decided to use German made Tibean technology which specializes in hypolimnetic aerators and to make it a Tibean-Ice. Designed to allow aeration without melting the ice cover, this technology is ideal for Frame Lake as it is used daily by hundreds of walkers and snowmobilers in winter. The technology is installed will be installed in the deepest section of the lake, which will allow the creation of an oxygen refuge. This area of increased oxygen will be studied as to quantify the available oxygen for the fish as well as study the positive impact it will have for the whole ecosystem.

The various stakeholders hope that the lake will be able to maintain a sufficient volume of oxygen to prevent anoxia and possibly the reintroduction of fish stocking by 2026. Researchers from Laurier University and Aurora College will monitor and study the impact of the Tibean-Ice aerator on Frame Lake until the end of the project.

We believe that the scientific approach of this project will allow us to have a better understanding of the impact of aeration on the management of heavy metal pollutants such as arsenic which is often linked to the abandonment of gold mines, a practice which is less and less widespread but whose traces are easily observable throughout the Canadian far north. Over time, it is expected that a living, aerobic layer will establish itself at the sediment level. For the Northwest Territories and for the city of Yellowknife, bringing Frame Lake back to life is a first step towards  reconciling the impact the mining industry has had on its territory.

We were present during the installation and here are Interviews concluded with Mario Paris, CEO and Founder of Canadian Products Ltd. on the installation.

Click  here : CBC News – Long-awaited aerator installed in Yellowknife’s Frame Lake