Tailings from a former Sudbury gold mine have contaminated a lake in Sudbury's south end.
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) has announced a cleanup of the arsenic entering Long Lake from the abandoned Long Lake Gold Mine.
A news release by the Long Lake Stewardship group said the issue was first raised years ago when high arsenic levels were measured at the lake's west end. The pinpointed source was a creek which lead upstream to some tailings at a past producing gold mine.
At the group's request, the Ministry of Environment conducted tests last fall and have confirmed that arsenic levels in a bay are dangerous.
MNDM's plan over the next three years is to hire a contractor to determine the extent of the problem and suggest a course of action. Next year, the ministry will conduct an environmental assessment with public input.
A 2007 contractor's estimate received by MNDM pegged the clean-up costs at between $7 million and $12 million.
The Ontario government and the local health unit are asking residents of the lake to take precautions when swimming and bathing, and to refrain from eating fish from the lake's west end until a further study can be done.
Last year, British exploration company Sunrise Resources PLC abandoned its drilling program at the mine site.
The company chose not to extend its option to purchase a 100 per cent interest in the Long Lake mine. The claim block comprised 23 contiguous claims covering 40.3 square km and was expanded to include the mine, whch had not been previously open to staking.
The former open-pit mine was mined from 1910 to 1916, and from 1932 to 1939. It produced 57,000 ounces of gold from more than 200,000 tonnes of ore with an average grade of nine grams per tonne.