By Rob Mitchell, Noront Camp Foreman
In August 2016 Noront took ownership of the Butler Lake Camp. It hadn’t been used for a few years and bears had made a huge mess damaging almost every structure. The camp was in bad condition and needed some clean-up. Noront pulled a crew together to address the most important issues and remove any hazards that might cause problems in the future. Local Webequie workers were employed as part of the team.
The clean-up took six days. Before we started, the camp manager and I visited the site to see what needed to be done. We then returned to Camp and put together a plan for getting the work done safely. We completed a Field Level Risk Assessment (FLRA) and we went over it with the crew. Then we got all the tools and supplies needed to do the job.
Because Butler Lake Camp is 20 miles from Esker Camp, we were dropped off and picked-up daily by helicopter. For safety, on the ride over we looked for wildlife like moose or bears from the air. Once we got to Butler we circled the camp a few times to make sure there were no bears hiding in the structures.
Our only way to communicate with Esker Camp was by satellite phone which we used to check-in and arrange for the helicopter to pick us up and sling loads back to Camp. The crew operated well together and maintained a safe, steady pace.
We removed drums of jet fuel, diesel and gasoline as well as propane tanks, engine oils and grease, shipping them back to Esker Camp for use in daily operations.
We did a big clean-up in the structures, bagging the garbage and collecting empty plastic pails. We also cleaned up the fire pit and other areas brining back anything we could use like laundry soap, cleaning supplies, parts, maps etc. We removed fuel and drill lubricant spills on the ground by shoveling them into drums. All waste (33 drums and a lot of garbage) was shipped to Green for Life in Thunder Bay for proper disposal. It was hard work but we enjoyed it. The team shared a lot of laughs, as you can imagine, especially given the bear situation. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone involved for a job well done.
Butler Lake Crew:
Alec Wabasse (Webequie)
David Ritch (Marten Falls)
Desmond Jacobs (Webequie)
Ian Littledeer (Fort Hope)
Ralph MacNally (Sault Ste Marie)
Rob Mitchell (Longlac)
Royden Spence (Webequie)
Scott Mortson (Thunder Bay)