Archeologists to search for artifacts at Yukon's Faro mine site
Managing the contaminated site means finding and preserving anything of historic significance
There could be more digging this summer at Yukon's notoriously contaminated Faro mine site, but this time it will be archeologists, not miners, doing the work.
They'll be looking for anything of historic significance that should be preserved or protected, as work continues to manage and remediate the large, 25 square kilometre site.
"We've been able to define another area that might be disturbed as part of the planning work, and to ensure that we protect those [heritage] values, we're proceeding with the archeological work in advance," said Patricia Randell of the Yukon government's abandoned mines branch.
The Faro mine was in operation from 1969 until 1998, producing lead, zinc and silver. The federal government took over the site when the owner went bankrupt.
In 2009, the federal and Yukon governments agreed on a plan to deal with the estimated 64,000 hectares of contaminated soil and groundwater. Part of the agreement requires Yukon to come up with a closure plan for the Faro site, with the help of federal money.
It may seem unlikely that there could be undiscovered artifacts or treasures on the heavily-used site, but Randell said they can't be sure. The engineering firm Stantec has been awarded the contract to study the site.
"Regulations and general standard practices have proponents not assume whether there are archeological values on a site," she said.
"The important first step is to go out and have a look and see what they find, and then we can evaluate our options based on the findings."