Freezing 200,000 Tons of Lethal Arsenic Dust

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  • Published on: 18 June 2018
  • Giant Mine sits near Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Once it was a productive gold mine, but after the gold ran out, the mining company went bankrupt and left the government to clean up the mess: enough arsenic trioxide dust to kill everyone on Earth. The solution: freezing it, at least for now.

    Thanks to all the team at the Giant Mine Remediation Project! More about them: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100027364/1100100027365

    There's an error in this video: I say "200,000 tonnes of gold", but that's actually 200,000kg. The 200,000 tonne figure is for arsenic dust. You can see all corrections for this channel at https://www.tomscott.com/corrections/

    The history of Giant Mine and the local First Nation people, a story I'm not qualified to tell: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/canada-150-betsina-family-nwt-1.4180681

    Edited by Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin)

    I'm at http://tomscott.com
    on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott
    on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott
    and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo
  • Runtime : 4:34
  • tom scott tomscott amazing places yellowknife giant mine arsenic trioxide gold mining arsenic freezing

COMMENTS: 40

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott   3 weeks ago

    There's an error in this video: I say "200,000 tonnes of gold", but that's actually 200,000kg. The 200,000 tonne figure is for arsenic dust. You can see all corrections for this channel at https://www.tomscott.com/corrections/

  • mackk123
    mackk123   1 days ago

    Good thing that sign is telling the arsenic to stay out

  • hellcat1988
    hellcat1988   3 days ago

    The best way to lock it down long term that I could possibly suggest with my limited knowledge would be to embed the dust in an obsidian like plasma rock created from using a plasma waste to energy generator. You obviously wouldn't want to use the resulting rock in anything that could lead to the arsenic being released into the environment, but it's far more stable than the "solution" of freezing it in chambers.

  • James S
    James S   1 weeks ago

    what if you were to just drop it in the middle of the ocean? would it dissolve and eventually kill everyone then or would it just kill some sea life with how big the ocean is?

  • a completely awesome name yay

    is there a way to convert the toxin to other chemicals via chemical reaction? Or possibly coat the dust with a aqua phobic material so it does't seep into the water so easily?

  • josoapification
    josoapification   1 weeks ago

    This is why we do not want anymore dalradian Canadian gold mining in the sperrins in Northern Ireland we do not have vast swathes of wilderness they are mining in a small sensitive area and there many concerns about cyanide pollution locally and further afield

  • freeman239
    freeman239   1 weeks ago

    I'm sure us Canadian taxpayers are paying for this...funny I never saw a cent of the $8 billion the mining company made off the land we share. It's as if the money was siphoned off into a black hole.

  • davidemmyg
    davidemmyg   1 weeks ago

    Funny how the system works, the mining companies mined the gold and left the dust for the government that is public money to clean up and yet we believe this is the best systemwe cam come up with

  • Octavio Cortez
    Octavio Cortez   1 weeks ago

    And all that is going to cost around 8 billion dollars.

  • Remington Bradley
    Remington Bradley   2 weeks ago

    Those safety goggles make him look like an infant baby wearing sun glasses

  • Stranger Happened
    Stranger Happened   2 weeks ago

    CAPITALIST "FREE MARKET" AT ITS BEST: privatise profits, socialize expenses. The owners of the mine have pocketed billions for themselves but now taxpayers have to pay billions (more than a billion since there are already costly additional medical costs as people are getting cancer and other illnesses there).

  • Knaar
    Knaar   2 weeks ago

    So they want to bury and freeze 200 000 tons of arsenic trioxide while the world produce and use about 50 000 tons of such arsenic trioxide each year....So hmm.... why not just "mine" it back and use it instead? I know, i know, there must be a reason why they do it... im just curious.

  • s je
    s je   2 weeks ago

    @tom scott can you do a video on permafrost, Please?

  • mad ass
    mad ass   2 weeks ago

    Take the money back from the shareholders.

  • JoshuaBuildster
    JoshuaBuildster   2 weeks ago

    According to YouTube, this is Mkay r/kidsarefuckingdumb

  • Papa Yuki
    Papa Yuki   2 weeks ago

    here is a idea ... make a trench along the lake and fill that trench about 5 or so feet thick and about 30 feet deep and mix batch of concentrate and fibers to add to the strength and what ever to make it water proof. then once that is done blow the mine and let it fall into it's self when you blow it ... would be best to make it almost implode instead if exploding to keep the dust down to a min. that might be the best long term thing for it.

  • Icedwarf M
    Icedwarf M   2 weeks ago

    Anyone else feel like this is a bit SCP feeling?

  • Rafal Omnom
    Rafal Omnom   3 weeks ago

    why not just collect it all, and try to kill every human worm on earth?

  • Karl Slicher
    Karl Slicher   3 weeks ago

    How long did they give the criminals here for endangering the entire planetary population in pursuit of some decorative metal?

  • Jared Patane
    Jared Patane   3 weeks ago

    "It has no scent, no taste, and dissolves in water." Arsenic trioxide is iocane power!

  • Jr V
    Jr V   3 weeks ago

    Sent it into space towards the Sun or Pluto both work.

  • Quill Maurer
    Quill Maurer   3 weeks ago

    What will happen to this scheme with climate change? The thermal siphons work with the current cold temperatures, but if that area were to warm up by say 5°C or something I could see the effectiveness being reduced, causing problems.

  • Joe Blow
    Joe Blow   3 weeks ago

    8.5 BILLION to Freeze it....

  • ImVeryBrad
    ImVeryBrad   3 weeks ago

    wow thats brutal. what a cost as well

  • al milhouse
    al milhouse   3 weeks ago

    Amazing how these big companies go bankrupt at just the right time.... Then come back under a different name and do exactly the same thing again....Very similar to the property bubble and crash...Here in Ireland the big names that took out extortionate loans then washed their hands closed up but yet most came back to build again after the recession but also some got a really nice money earned working as consultants for NAMA which was set up to liquidate assets and sell on property and land..,This in itself was another absolute scam and basically a fire sale of Irish owned land and property to the likes of China, USA, UK and many many more....These homes could well have been given to Irish people who were stick renting and it would have brought in more money.

  • buffypython
    buffypython   1 months ago

    Plenty of mining and industrial companies still get away with completely screwing the environment & the local populace. West Virginia frequently lets coal mining companies do whatever they want & literally level mountaintops, ruining groundwater in areas that rely on wells. Most of our politicians own or are heavily lobbied by coal & natural gas companies, so they turn a blind eye.

  • F. OPE
    F. OPE   1 months ago

    Of course the company went bankrupt. That's why one has to create taxes during their activity to pay for the costs of repairing the environment...

  • Derek Smith
    Derek Smith   1 months ago

    Can I also slowly fill it with concrete after its frozen to help keep it from spreading if for some reason the system failed for years and years down the road?

  • Travis Negrete
    Travis Negrete   1 months ago

    If you're going to unleash enough of a poison to kill more people than exist in the known universe, it better be for a good reason. So at least we got some shiny metal from it