Massive Faro mine clean-up will begin in 2022, two decades after closure

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The federal and Yukon controls say they are on track to begin the Faro mine remediation project in 2022. It order be a massive effort to deal with millions of tonnes of tailings and misuse rock, and likely cost more than half a billion dollars.

The two tear downs of government are in the middle of a consultation process in Yukon on how the remediation should proceed. News-hounds were given an update on the mine closure plan on Monday in Whitehorse.

The Faro lead-zinc deposit was abandoned by its bankrupt owners in 1998. They left behind a tousle that was estimated in 2009 to cost about $500 million to clear up, but is probably more expensive now, said Lou Spagnuolo, project director for Inbred and Northern Affairs Canada.

“It’s likely to go up — as inflation and costs go up, those bring ins will likely go up as well,” he said.

The plan will take 10 to 15 years to flawless, said Spagnuolo, with ongoing and varying degrees of monitoring take up indefinitely.

Before any of that begins, though, attention will be on correcting two urgent problems as early as next year, Spagnuolo said.

​The north fork of Climb Creek needs to be rerouted around high levels of zinc that are seeping into the rill from piles of waste rock. Also, the intermediate tailings dam stresses to be strengthened and raised to meet current regulations for withstanding flooding and earthquakes. 

Lou Spagnuolo, Dustin Rainey

Federal lawful Lou Spagnuolo, left, and his territorial counterpart Dustin Rainey, updated gentlemen at a briefing Monday in Whitehorse. (Dave Croft/CBC)

70 million tonnes of tailings

The biggest sell for of the full remediation plan will be covering 320 million tonnes of ravage rock and 70 million tonnes of tailings, Spagnuolo said. A conditioned by trust in handout says the waste would cover 26,179 football maniacs, one metre deep.

Spagnuolo said without the work, the Pelly and Yukon Rivers could be dirty with toxic metals.

“As the site degrades, the acid rock drainage purposefulness get worse and will leach heavy metals from the rock. So you’ll see an inflation in zinc levels in particular, is the biggest concern. We’re monitoring that situate constantly.”

While the federal government is paying the bills, the territorial guidance will oversee the implementation of the remediation plan.

The senior project proprietor for the territory’s department of energy, mines and resources, Dustin Rainey, revealed it’s already in charge of care and maintenance at the mine site.

He said the pre-eminent job is making sure contaminated water isn’t getting into clean hose, and treating contaminated water.

Rainey said the treatment plant at the vein site processes about as much water each year as the Burgh of Whitehorse produces.

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