Pine Point – Lead / Zinc Mine
The Pine Point lead-zinc mine was opened in 1964 by Pine Point Mines Ltd., a subsidiary of mining giant Cominco, and was soon shipping 1,000 tons of high grade ore per day from a large site on the south shore of Great Slave Lake. Although the mine was a private venture, the federal government invested $100 million in infrastructure including a small hydro-electric project, and highway and railroad extensions to the site (Clancy 1987). In the early stages of the project there were very few Aboriginal participants in the labour force, in part because the government did not extend the highway to the nearby Denesuline (or Chipewyan) community of Fort Resolution until 1972). With the closure of the mine in 1988, the town of Pine Point quickly became a ghost town as miners searched for work in other locations. Local Chipewyan people complained, however, that the mining company had balked at a promise to fill in the 43 open pit mines that dot the landscape between Fort Resolution and Hay River, and that toxic seepage from the tailings ponds was leaking into Great Slave Lake.