Faro Mine Remediation Project

Backgrounder

Faro Mine was once the largest open-pit lead-zinc mine in the world. Spanning over 25 square kilometres, it is now the site of one of the most complex abandoned mine remediation projects in Canada. It is located in south-central Yukon, near the town of Faro, in the traditional territory of the Kaska First Nations, and upstream from Selkirk First Nation. The Ross River Dena Council is the closest First Nation community to the site.

During its 29 years of operation (1969 to 1998), Faro Mine processed between 5,000 and 9,300 tonnes of ore per day. Today, the Faro Mine Complex includes 70 million tonnes of tailings, 320 million tonnes of waste rock and three open pits filled with contaminated water. Both the tailings and the waste rock contain high levels of heavy metals that could leach into the surrounding environment. The Faro Mine is one of the highest priority contaminated sites within the federal property inventory and requires ongoing management to protect human health and safety and the environment.

Parsons Inc. is the current care and maintenance contractor, as well as the interim construction manager for the site. They have been responsible for both the care and maintenance and the urgent works construction management at the site over the past several years. Their current contracts expire on March 31, 2022. Following a two-stage competitive process, administered by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), the new main construction manager contract was awarded to Parsons Inc. for an initial amount of $108.2 million, covering Term 1 services, starting in April 2022 and going until March 31, 2024.

The contract is structured to accommodate the phased approach of the remediation plan, and includes options to extend through the duration of active remediation, which is expected to be completed by 2038. The main construction manager and care and maintenance services contractor will work alongside a number of other contractors engaged by the Government of Canada. These contracts include: remediation plan design and support services; environmental monitoring services; geotechnical services; and regulatory services. An additional contract is currently underway to complete the design of the Faro Mine Permanent Water Treatment Plant.

The main construction management and care and maintenance services contract includes Indigenous opportunities for employment, training and subcontracting (including goods and services) for the Kaska First Nations and their businesses. This will mean full-time employment for Kaska Dena First Nations workers and purchases from Kaska Dena-owned businesses. Subcontracts issued by the construction manager will include additional socio-economic benefits.

The remediation is being conducted with the participation of the Kaska First Nations. This includes their active involvement with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and PSPC in various management committees. In addition to the Indigenous opportunities in the main construction manager and care and maintenance contract, there are similar requirements incorporated into the remediation plan design, support services and environmental monitoring services contracts to provide further opportunities.

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