A portion of a creek that flows near the Faro mine site has been realigned in an effort to prevent further contamination of the water. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

A portion of a creek that flows near the Faro mine site has been realigned in an effort to prevent further contamination of the water. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Creek realigned as part of Faro mine cleanup

A portion of a creek that flows near the Faro mine site has been realigned in an effort to prevent further contamination of the water.

The federal government announced the completion of the “North Fork of Rose Creek Realignment Project” in a press release Oct. 29, describing it as a “significant milestone” in the Faro cleanup.

“Realigning this section of the creek has been vital for ensuring that clean water and valuable fish habitat in Rose Creek do not come into contact with the contaminated water from mine wastes,” the press release explains.

“Contaminated water can now be captured for treatment on site while the clean water safely flows into a new channel that reconnects with Rose Creek. Fish overwintering ponds have also been built to compensate for fish habitat lost due to construction.”

The Faro mine was, at one point, the largest open-pit lead and zinc mine in the world, but became the responsibility of the federal government to clean up after it was abandoned in 1998.

According to the federal government’s website on the remediation project, it’s one of the “most complex abandoned mine clean-up projects in Canada,” with 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock left behind on a mine site that covers an area equivalent to that of Victoria.

The mine has been in care and maintenance since 2009, with federal officials saying in 2017 that they expect the actual cleanup to begin in 2022 and cost likely more than 500 million dollars.

“Remediating the Faro Mine Site is our top priority,” Ross River Dena Council Chief Jack Caesar said in the Oct. 29 press release. “The completion of the North Fork of Rose Creek realignment marks an important step towards protecting the water. The Ross River Dena Council is pleased with the progress being made at the Faro Mine Site. We want to see the remediation work continue and for this to remain a top priority for Canada and the Yukon.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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