Whitehorse Daily Star

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BIG HOLE – Above is one of three open pits at the former Faro lead-zinc mine. The cost of looking after the mine site for the past 20 years is expected to climb above half a billion dollars this year.

Cost of Faro project forecast to exceed $500 million this year

The federal government is estimating the cost of baby-sitting the former Faro mine site is set to soar past the half a billion dollar mark.

By Chuck Tobin on May 23, 2019

The federal government is estimating the cost of baby-sitting the former Faro mine site is set to soar past the half a billion dollar mark.

Ottawa is estimating it will spend another $50 to $75 million on the Faro project this fiscal year, according to figures provided to the Star this week.

The figures show that since the federal government became responsible for the mine site after the Anvil Range Corporation went bankrupt in 1998, it has spent $480 million looking after it and planning long-term remediation.

Most of the money, $200 million, has been spent on care and maintenance, says the written federal response to questions from the Star.

But millions have also gone to “urgent care” projects like dismantling buildings that will have to be removed under any case.

Last year Ottawa spent $59 million on Faro, according to the available figures.

The written response says the federal government is planning to submit by the end of this year a long-term remediation proposal for review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

The federal government is responsible for looking after and reclaiming the Faro lead-zinc mine because the mine was approved and permitted by the federal government when it was still in charge of managing lands and resources in the territory. Those responsibilities devolved to the Yukon government on April 1, 2003.

In addition to covering the cost of a major construction project this year, funding is also directed toward developing the remediation proposal, including the cost of continuing consultation with First Nations.

Faro is one of seven type II abandoned mine sites in the Yukon that the federal government is responsible for. Only one, the Keno Hill Silver district, has reached the point of having a remediation proposal before the assessment board for review. The review is ongoing.

The Keno Hill project is being driven by a private company but paid for by Ottawa.

Reclaiming the Faro site entails dealing with three open pits, a massive tailings facility, creek diversions, piles of waste rock and so forth.

The federal summary of money spent in the last 20 years shows:

• $200 million on care and maintenance;

• $15 million on regulatory activities (preparation of the Project Proposal);

• $15 million on consultation with First Nations and to provide training opportunities;

• $40 million on site assessment to assist in the development of the remediation plan;

• $25 million on environmental monitoring;

• $95 million on advanced remediation/urgent care projects, and;

• $90 million on project management.

Comments (15)

Up 0 Down 0

Wilf on May 29, 2019 at 2:54 pm

I tried to run for public office but got broken up in an accident, hip, leg etc.

Up 2 Down 0

Mick on May 29, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Why didn't you save us from our own ineptitude when you had the chance?
You should run for public office.......oh, wait...

Up 2 Down 2

Yukonmax on May 29, 2019 at 8:34 am

Some greedy owners are renting their dilapidated units for $2000.00 per month, forcing some contractors and subcontractors to buy other abandoned apartment buildings and retrofitting them for their workers. Cheaper then renting. So to say the companies are responsible to drive the cost up is a bit of a stretch. There are no long term commitments from these people and these buildings will again become empty and fall apart while the Town is waiting to collect taxes. Faro real estates fiasco will repeat itself.

Up 4 Down 3

Wilf Carter on May 29, 2019 at 1:21 am

The real question is why was the mine re-opened in the 1980's without any reg's under the NDP in Yukon and supported by liberals Federally? Most of the mess was created during this period. I knew the VP at the time. Mostly Federal and some Yukon government made billions on projects like this. Easy dollar for liberal and NDP run governments.

Up 6 Down 1

james woods on May 28, 2019 at 10:56 am

The company that is managing the mine is charging $300 per day per worker for lodgings, who is raising the costs of these projects? And that is not the wages that the worker gets paid.

Up 13 Down 5

Yukonmax on May 27, 2019 at 7:24 am

Opportunities and training exist for everyone and a multitude of funding is made available to First Nation. Even Y.G. tenders are including a "First Nation Component". That's right folks, contractors are asked what they will do to ease the way in for a First Nation, "EXCLUSIVELY"! Same for the Faro Mine. Funny, most of the First Nation working up there don't even speak English. They speak French. Why is that?

Up 11 Down 5

My Opinion on May 24, 2019 at 9:12 pm

@ Mickey
Trudeau will go. Is that more definitive for you.

Up 43 Down 11

Just Sayin' on May 24, 2019 at 11:57 am

@ Ross River Dene

In the real world, the big world, not this tiny place we call the Yukon, people go get the training and education required and then apply to jobs. These jobs will look at the persons education and or experience and will determine where they fit. If you want to excel in the field and or be apart of the project, go out, use the many grants available to the Indigenous people of Canada, obtain the necessary credentials and then you may get the position and or training you feel you deserve. It is not everyone else's job to ensure you have a job and or a position you feel you deserve. #firstworldproblems

Up 20 Down 7

Mick on May 24, 2019 at 11:34 am

@ My Opinion who said: "Trudeau must go."

How does Trudeau have anything to do with the Faro clean up?

Up 20 Down 16

Mick on May 24, 2019 at 11:32 am

Before it's yours it's mined.
After it's mined, it's yours (to clean up the mess)

Up 18 Down 0

Max Mack on May 24, 2019 at 10:23 am

The headline is a little misleading. It should probably read: "To date cost of Faro project forecast to exceed $500 million this year".

Up 27 Down 19

Northern Knight on May 24, 2019 at 6:16 am

Wow. When I moved to the Yukon some 30 years ago, all I heard was that 'mining was the economic engine' of the Yukon.
Yes, this is a perfect example of it: the owners of the mine make all the money and we, the public, are stuck with the cleanup bill.
And we never learn. Our government wants to open up park and reserve areas to increase mining activity. Think the same scenario may play out?
I do.

Up 22 Down 15

My Opinion on May 24, 2019 at 1:16 am

Yep our new industry. All Canadian Tax Payers will soon be in the poor House. Oh wait we already are. Trudeau must go.

Up 13 Down 18

Ross River Dene on May 23, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Out of all that money spent there has been minimal training for the Ross River ppl. Get with it Parsons... water saving and some water treatment training and that was it. No one ever hears what's happening in Faro or what types of opportunities are out there...

Up 30 Down 12

Guncache on May 23, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Millions into dismantling buildings. Here is a money saver, leave them standing. The cost of continuing consultation with First Nations? How much does it cost to sit down in an office and let them know what's going on, or send them an email? Liberals like to blow money.

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