Energy, Mines and Resources

Faro

Faro: timeline

Part of the Government of Yukon’s responsibilities post-devolution in 2003 are care and maintenance as well as to develop, plan and implement a remediation plan for the abandoned Type II mine sites.

There are many steps involved in remediation planning and implementation. The following is an overview of the activities that have occurred to date.

1998
The operator of the Faro mine was placed into receivership and all mining activities stopped.

1998 - 2009

  • The Government of Canada paid for care and maintenance work to be carried out at the site by the court appointed interim receiver, Deloitte and Touche. This work included water treatment so that water flowing from the site met acceptable standards. It also included regular inspection and maintenance of all structures on the site. Care and maintenance by the interim receiver continued until 2009.
  • In 2003, the Devolution Transfer Agreement came into effect and the Government of Yukon is charged with the administrative care and control of Type II sites, including the abandoned Faro mine site. The financial responsibility for the Type II sites continues to reside with the federal government.
  • A series of public information sessions and technical workshops are held with the Ross River Dene Council, Liard First Nation, Selkirk First Nation and communities to gather information on local priorities and concerns regarding the remediation of the abandoned Faro mine site. These meetings served to determine and define the objectives for the project. The process was designed to be open and transparent, and provided information to support community understanding and involvement.
  • Technical studies, scientific investigations, engineering inspections, and risk assessments take place to gain a better understanding of the environmental state of the abandoned mine site and the surrounding environment.
  • Results of the technical studies and workshops are summarized in a series of 12 sample remediation alternatives. These represented a spectrum of alternatives considered technically feasible to address the environmental issues at the Faro mine site.
  • An independent peer review panel reviews the 12 alternatives. The panel is made up of 9 leading experts in various aspects of mine closure. The review includes an extensive period of feedback and discussion on specific issues and topics with governments, and communities.
  • The independent peer review panel, in consultation with governments and communities, recommended refinement of the 12 alternatives to 5 final remediation options.
  • Community members, technical consultants and governments evaluated the short list of 5 remediation options against the project objectives to determine the merits of each option.
  • The federal, territorial and First Nations governments reached a consensus on a preferred option for the remediation plan, which includes the following measures:
  • Upgrading of dams to ensure tailings stay in place during natural events such as earthquakes and floods;
  • Re-sloping of waste rock to improve long-term stability;
  • Installation of engineered soil covers over approximately 320 million tonnes of tailings and waste rock;
  • Installation of state-of-the-art collection and treatment systems for contaminated water; and,
  • Upgrading stream diversions.
  • 2009 - Present
    On March 1, 2009, the Government of Yukon took over the responsibilities for managing the Faro mine site from Deloitte and Touche. A new care and maintenance contract was awarded following an open and competitive bidding process overseen by Government of Yukon.

    Care and maintenance

    Since 2009, the Government of Yukon has implemented a number of projects on site as part of ongoing care and maintenance activities. This has included:

    • The Grum Sulphide Cell project: completed in 2010, it included the installation of a low infiltration cover over an area of approximately 27 hectares.
    • New water treatment plant: constructed in 2014, the new facility replaced the converted mill-based treatment process and is capable of treating 6,000 gallons per minute.
    • Adaptive management works: in response to degrading water quality a number of seepage interception systems were constructed to intercpt contamination. These systems are being monitored for performance and all regulators and governments are regularly updated.

    Remediation Planning

    A detailed engineering design of the remediation plan must be developed and completed prior to undergoing environmental assessment and regulatory approvals.

    • As of 2015, a design of 20% has been prepared for the remediation plan, with selected components advanced to 30%.
    • Once finalized, the remediation plan will first be assessed under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA)  for environmental, social and economic impacts, then receive approval for land and water licences and permits, and finally, secure federal government approval for funding prior to being implemented.
    • Once achieved, the remediation plan will be implemented.

    For more information on the remediation planning process, please see the fact sheet on the remediation planning process  258 KB.

    Government of Canada's Northern Contaminated Sites Program is leading the development and finalization of the remediation plan. To learn more, visit Government of Canada's Northern Contaminated Sites Program.

    Contact Us

    Room 2C
    Royal Bank Centre
    4114 4 Ave. Whitehorse, Yukon

    Phone: 867.456.6147
    Toll-free in the Yukon: 1.800.661.0408 ext. 6147
    Fax: 867.456.6780
    Email: yukonabandonedmines@gov.yk.ca