Memorial University Newfoundland
Caitlynn Beckett is a PhD candidate in Geography at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Her research focuses on the remediation of contaminated mining landscapes in Northern Canada.
To date, research on the remediation (also called reclamation, rehabilitation, or restoration) of contaminated mine sites in Canada has focused primarily on its techno-scientific aspects and relatively less is known about the process of remediation as a historical, political and social force in the North. Caitlynn’s research analyzes mine remediation processes in the Canadian sub-Arctic, focusing on how remediation is defined, regulated and limited by industry and the settler-colonial state and how local communities resist or participate in planning for remediation. She argues that without a community objectives based approach to remediation, such projects risk continuing colonial systems of environmental violence that allowed for such destruction to happen in the first place. This research includes work at the Giant Mine in Yellowknife (on the territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nations), the Faro Mine in Yukon (on the territory of the Ross River Dena First Nations) and the Raglan Mine in Nunavik, Québec (on the territory of the Nunavik, Inuit). These three mines are all at different stages of planning for remediation. This research includes key stakeholder interviews, archival research and participant observation in community meetings and public hearings.
Broadly, this research asks: How can remediation go beyond a focus on site containment to a broader emphasis on perpetual care, community healing, and an ethics of remediation? How can remediation projects be used to confront settler colonial land dispossession and environmental violence across Canada? This research contributes to a broader understanding of the socio-political and historic dimensions of mine contamination and remediation, and the development of better practices for mine closure.