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YUKON FIRM PARTICIPATING – Pelly Construction ltd. will be involved in the work at the abandoned lead-zinc minesite in Faro. Inset Stanley Noel

Faro work delayed from last year to February

The work scheduled to start last year to begin the cleanup of the long-abandoned Faro mine has not happened as per commitments made by the feds.

By Palak Mangat on January 23, 2019

The work scheduled to start last year to begin the cleanup of the long-abandoned Faro mine has not happened as per commitments made by the feds. They are now slated to begin in February.

That includes construction on the North Fork Rose Creek diversion, dubbed an “urgent work” by the feds last year. It’s covered under an $80-million contract given to Alberta-based Parsons Inc. in August 2018.

While “several projects have been completed in order to prepare the area for the main work packages,” that work is slated to begin “soon,” wrote Melissa Madden. She is a spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA).

One of her federal colleagues from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) explained in a June 2018 briefing to media that there would be construction beginning that year.

That was Lou Spagnuolo, the director for the Faro Mine Remediation Project with INAC. He acknowledged last year that the creek was contaminated as far back at 2014, and a new diversion design took place with consultants and engineers.

Meanwhile, as per an update: Madden confirmed that part of Parsons’ work included carrying out a “fish salvation operation in September 2018.”

That saw fish being relocated from the creek, along with the installation of temporary fish fences to ensure they do not head toward the area that will see construction.

Since that September date, there have been more permanent fish systems secured which are being installed.

“Now that fish are out of the construction area, they will be safe, even if there are delays in completing any of the work packages,” Madden said.

Those early work packages are made up of, among other things, the establishing and construction of an access road, borrow sources, and other sediment control measures.

That is scheduled to begin next month.

With the site spanning the traditional territories of the Kaska Dena Council, Liard First Nation, Selkirk First Nation and Ross River Dena Council (RRDC), the latter in particular has pressed to reap the economic rewards related to cleaning up the site – which 2013 government documents pegged at about $590 million.

And while some of the timelines around the long-term work may be delayed, the feds do seem to be doing good on its promise to try to keep work local so far.

That’s thanks to some work being given to Pelly Construction Ltd., the Yukon-based construction group that successfully bid on work being managed by Parsons.

RRDC-owned Dena Nezziddi Development Corp. will be partnering with Pelly for the work, it said in a Jan. 16 release.

“Every job, new businesses and increased sales by our company means healthier lives and more opportunity,” corporation CEO Stanley Noel said in the release.

He noted that the work was creating job opportunities for subcontractors and income for the corporation, as Pelly is to be building a service road and realigning part of the creek away from contaminated water.

That work is set to take about four to six months to complete. Noel added that through this new partnership, Pelly “made commitments that include hiring Ross River citizens and buying our services,” among them a fuel company, environmental services company and logistics services “that are already seeing real growth as a result.”

For its part, Pelly expects the partnership to be a long and positive one.

“It’s an opportunity for our company to be a part of what we hope is a change in prosperity for the community and we hope this will be a long-term relationship,” Jennifer Byram, Pelly’s vice-president, added in the release.

Meanwhile, Spagnuolo explained last year that the ultimate goal was to submit the overall closure plan for the site to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board by the fall of 2018.

That has not happened yet.

Instead, it has been delayed to spring of this year “to allow our project partners (including First Nations and Yukon Government) sufficient time to provide meaningful input into the remediation plan.”

The 25-square-kilometre site was under the purview of both the territorial and federal governments, until Ottawa assumed the maintenance and care of the mine last summer to streamline the process.

August 2018 was also when Ottawa had initially planned to build a diversion system (the work that has now moved to February 2019).

The update on timelines comes after the interim construction manager contract was given to Parsons Inc. last year, via an $80.1-million agreement that would take it into March 2020.

Roughly the size of Victoria, the site has seen 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock.

The overall remediation plan itself is multi-year work that will aim to remediate the lead-zinc mine that was abandoned by Anvil Range Mining Corp. in February 1998.

Major construction is pegged for 2022, with a final remediation plan with regulatory approval expected for the year before.

Cyprus Anvil Mining Corp. first began producing from the site in 1969.

Comments (3)

Up 10 Down 7

Yukoner on Jan 24, 2019 at 11:12 pm

It is nice to see the remediation work started and it is also nice to see Ross River companies and people benefit. Hopefully it's the start to something good so that Ross River can prosper and move forward with new opportunities.

Up 15 Down 4

Alta comp on Jan 24, 2019 at 2:27 pm

lol; nice partnership. Why don't the bands release the court drafted documents for every bidder?

Pay the natives a lump sum up front and they give you support, no matter the work you do with them. If you get the job you have to pay them more. Don't give them the cash then you don't get their support. We chose not to pay and bowed out.

Up 16 Down 5

Just Sayin' on Jan 23, 2019 at 3:53 pm

There is a reason it is called the money pit.
Contractors/consultants have made a hefty profit at this site and no reclamation has been completed. Maybe someone will leak some data illustrating the negligence of all the parties involved.
Time to get the JV up and running especially with the carbon tax and it not being applied to the FN JV or Pelly (Placer mining)....; the time is right for contractors and consultants to get their monies.

Checked WB and YESSAB no water license or LUP, must be nice to run under the radar and do what you want, when you want.

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