Yukon's contaminated Faro mine site has new caretaker

Calgary-based Parsons Corporation has won a four-year, $14M contract to oversee care and maintenance at one of Canada's most contaminated mine sites.

Calgary-based company wins $14M contract

The Faro mine produced lead, silver and zinc from about 1970 until 1998. (The Canadian Press)

Yukon's Faro mine, one of the country's most notorious contaminated sites, has a new temporary caretaker.

Calgary-based Parsons Corporation has won a $14 million contract to look after the abandoned mine site over the next four years. It beat out nine other bidders.

"The care and maintenance operator undertakes things like clean water systems, dams and diversions, treating water, those types of activities," said Patricia Randell, of the Yukon government's abandoned mines branch.

The Faro mine produced lead, silver and zinc from about 1970 until 1998. 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, but that's still in the works.

​"I think that what we'll see is the Yukon government's work with Canada on a remediation planning works will have progressed" by 2020, when Parsons' contract expires, Randell said.

"We'll have to revisit the care and maintenance scope at that time to understand how things may change. It is noted, though, that care and maintenance will continue in some form, over time."

Randell said Parsons will be given contact information for Yukoners who have been hired by previous contractors to do care and maintenance at the site, so they might continue their employment.