An inspector's photo shows the site of Devonian Metals' camp southwest of Wrigley.
An exploration company is being ordered to remove cabin frames and other debris from a camp outside Wrigley, years after its permission to be there expired.
Devonian Metals was the subject of an order from an NWT government inspector last week, giving the company 30 days to clean up the site.
Orders are relatively rarely used to enforce the territory’s environmental legislation. They form a last resort after all attempts to coerce a company into action are perceived to have failed.
In this case, seven years have passed since Devonian’s permitting for its camp expired. The company had been exploring a zinc, lead and silver deposit first discovered by Cominco in the 1970s that lies around 10 km southwest of Wrigley.
Efforts to reach Devonian Metals for comment were unsuccessful.
The company appears to have carried out very little public activity for years, though ministerial records do show a representative held a meeting with then-premier Bob McLeod in October 2018.
The NWT’s Department of Environment and Climate Change says five structures, 11 tent frames, wooden debris, barrels and an ATV are sitting at the camp, all of which must be removed. The first request to do so came in July 2016.
In August 2016, Devonian told regulators it hoped to resume exploration at the site and was filing for a new land use permit. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board said in 2022 it had never received any such application.
The Department of Environment and Climate Change told Cabin Radio on Friday it has had no contact from Devonian either since issuing an order last week or in the weeks prior.
“The department has been attempting to work with Devonian Metals to bring them into compliance. However, there has been no communication from the company for several months, indicating that enforcement action is now necessary,” ECC stated, asked why action had not occurred significantly sooner.
In 2022, Devonian was threatened with losing a $65,000 deposit and having that money used “to facilitate removal of infrastructure.”
ECC says that money still hasn’t been touched, but now may be the time.
“Failure to comply with the inspector’s order after 30 days may result in further enforcement action, which could include accessing their $65,000 deposit to restore the site,” the department wrote.
The inspector’s order also warns the company that failing to clean up the area carries the possibility of a fine worth up to $100,000 or imprisonment for up to half a year.