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Faro Mine

The Faro mine site is an abandoned lead and zinc mine located 15 km north of the Town of Faro, Yukon Territory. The minesite is currently managed by the Government of Yukon with funding from the Government of Canada. Limited details are available on the Faro Mine Remediation Project website. The Yukon Conservation Society still finds it is difficult to get answers to the following questions:

  • Is the water flowing off the Faro Mine site meeting safe and acceptible standards? What is the quality of the water flowing off the site now?
  • Why is it costing so much (over a quarter billion dollars has been spent on site over the past decade)? What is the rest of it going to cost?
  • What is the goal of the remediation plan? Will the site ever be close to what it was before the mining began?

Faro Mine Community Consultations Now Underway June 2017

The Faro Mine Remediation Project team is seeking input on key environmental and socio-economic interests linked to the Faro Mine site. There are community meetings and an online questionnaire.

Community meetings are now confirmed in:

  • Ross River, Monday, June 19th from 5 to 8 pm at the Ross River School; presentation starts at 6 pm
  • Town of Faro, Tuesday, June 20th from 5 to 8 pm at Recreation Centre (Sportsman’s Lounge); presentation starts at 5:30 pm
  • Watson Lake, Thursday, June 22nd from 5 to 8 pm at the Morgan Chaddock Recreation Centre; presentation starts at 6 pm
  • Whitehorse, Wednesday, June 28th, from 6 to 8 pm at the Coast High Country Inn (Room A) 4051 4th Ave
  • Dates and locations are yet to be confirmed for meetings that will be held in Carmacks and Pelly Crossing. For more information, visit the consultation website.

The public can provide feedback by completing the online questionnaire. The deadline for submitting the questionnaire is Monday, July 10, 2017.

What Does The Faro Mine Look Like?

The video Faro Overflight August 2015 shows what a small portion of it looks like. The Yukon Government website hosts a Faro Mine Complex Landmarks Map. Below are three features on this map (Rose Creek tailings dam, Grum Pit, and the Vangorda Pit). Both the photo's and video were taken by YCS/Lighthawk (pilot Gerry Whitley).

    

A second video (Faro Overflight August 2016) shows essentially the same features but in reverse order. It starts in the downstream portion of Rose Creek and proceeds upstream over the Cross Valley Pond and Dam, the Intermediate Pond and Dam, and concludes beyond the 4 km long Rose Creek Tailings Area. It is worth noting that the dull orange of the Polishing Pond has not improved over the past year.

The cost of the Faro mine cleanup is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars and to take at least four centuries.

Learn more about the Faro Mine site at the Faro Mine Remediation Project, or by reading the Faro Mine Briefing Note.

Faro Mine Water Test Results

One thing you won't find posted anywhere else are the water test results for Sept 2013 - Oct 2015. For your convenience they are posted here:

Here is a map showing the location of the water sampling sites. It is taken from Investigations of Predictions for Acidic Drainage at the Vangorda Plateau, Faro Mine Complex (Faro, YT), MEND Report 1.70.1

Water test results prior to Sept 2013 do not appear to be available.

The Faro Mine Remediation Project has started putting some limited water data online. These are on the Yukon Water Board website (here's how to access them once you're on the website).

  • Click on the Waterline button, then enter as a guest. Search for QZ06-075-1 (it will show up in the Closed tab).
  • Click on it, then click on the Reports tab – up to April 2017 results have been posted, with hopefully more to come.

There’s an Environment Canada site that lists off-site water monitoring data (2008 to 2016, 2017 data coming soon) from a station about 10km downstream of the Faro Mine on Rose Creek. You can download site variable data (scroll down to see the button, or click here). Basically, Zinc concentrations increased in Rose Creek below the Faro mine in late 2013 and elevated concentrations continued until the last measurement in 2015. Concentrations exceeded the CCME guideline for aquatic life. Copper did not change during the same period. For more information about water contamination caused by mining wastes check out these YCS Infograms.

Here are some photographs taken of Rose Creek downstream of the Faro Mine complex during the first half of May, 2017. As can be seen, the colour is certainly unusual. The pictures were taken near the water sampling station R3.

   

 

Media Coverage

Both the Globe And Mail (Jan 2017) and the National Post (Dec 2016) ran recent articles about the abandoned Faro mine. YCS submitted an op-ed to the Yukon News that summarized our interpretation of recent water test results. Here is a recent (June 2017) Yukon News article on the possible remediation plans, upcoming community meetings and other recent events.

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