Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, recently awarded a contract for construction management and care and maintenance services at the Faro Mine Complex to Parsons Inc.
Once the largest open-pit lead-zinc mine in the world, Faro Mine was a major economic driver for Yukon and Canada from its opening in 1969 to its abandonment in 1998. Nearly 30 years of processing materials at the mine has left behind 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rocks. The mine spans 25 square kilometres, an area roughly the size of the city of Victoria, British Columbia.
Today, the Faro Mine Remediation Project is one of the largest and most complex abandoned mine clean-up projects underway in Canada. The main construction manager will be responsible for managing construction work and care and maintenance services at the Faro Mine Complex, including contaminated water treatment; road maintenance; and management of infrastructure, waste, fuel and supplies.
The contract with Parson Inc. will make a significant contribution to restoring and protecting the environment on and adjacent to the mine site, while bringing socio-economic benefits to northern and First Nations communities. The contract is structured to accommodate the phased approach of the remediation plan: this initial contract award of $108.2 million is for services until March 31, 2024, and includes options to extend through the duration of active remediation, which is expected to be completed by 2038.
PSPC also awarded CH2M Hill Canada Ltd. a $5.8‑million contract on July 27, 2021, for the design of the Faro Mine Permanent Water Treatment Plant. Additional procurement processes are underway, or planned, for services that include remediation design planning, environmental monitoring, geotechnical and regulatory support.
Together, these contracts will help to create and sustain long-term northern jobs while improving the environment for local communities.
“The Faro Mine was constructed on the Ross River Dena Council’s traditional territory and many of our community members and families were displaced by the mine”, stated Chief Caesar of the Ross River Dena Council First Nation. He further stated, “The legacy of harm is both physical and emotional. The decision of Canada and Yukon to advance this project and Canada’s sincere efforts to support a remediation process that includes our community is a major step towards improving both the land and our peoples’ experience around the Faro Mine. The main construction manager award is a critical step in starting this important work.”
As part of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation, the main construction management contract includes commitments by the contractor to ensure employment and training opportunities for Kaska Dena citizens and subcontracting to Kaska Dena-owned businesses.
Remediation of the mine is expected to take 15 years to complete, followed by testing, monitoring and care and maintenance into the long-term.