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Pipeline around ancient remains

Energy Company gets it Right after Discovery of Ancient Human Bones

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We have published plenty of articles relating to destruction of archaeological sites and relics from a 5,000-year-old pyramid decimated in Peru , to an ancient Libyan necropolis being bulldozed to make way for shops, and irreversible damage and theft of Egypt’s precious artefacts .   However, we feel it is just as important to highlight when people get it right!

Last week, TransGas, the pipeline subsidiary of SaskEnergy in Canada, was undertaking a major pipeline project in Saskatchewan to supply natural gas service to a new mine site, when a number of ancient bones were discovered , estimated to be more than 1,000-years-old. Previous examples around the world have shown that Energy and Construction companies view such findings as little more than a considerable inconvenience, with some simply bulldozing straight through.  For example, earlier this year it was reported that an ancient Aboriginal burial site was desecrated during the construction of an expressway in Australia.

However, to their credit, SaskEnergy is redesigning the project in order to minimise any impact to the newly discovered cultural lands in the northwest of Regina, and is working with elders from the Nakota Nation to determine the most appropriate way to deal with the soil already disturbed. TransGas also says if First Nations leaders feel further archaeological work should be done, the company will ensure that occurs.

"Typically, pipelines are done using a shallow trench and that's about six feet of a hole that is made. The pipeline is lowered in, the ground cover is put back in and on we go," SaskEnergy spokesman Dave Burdeniuk said. "We're not going to do that now for the location where the remains were discovered. We're going to back up further away and then we're going to go deep."

It is refreshing to see an Energy company looking beyond their profits to show consideration for ancient indigenous sites. Let’s hope others will follow by example.

By April Holloway

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