The federal government has handed out an $80 million contract for a construction manager at the Faro mine site.
Parsons Inc., the same company that is in charge of care and maintenance at the site will now get the construction management contract until at least 2020. The deal also comes with two optional one-year extensions.
Parsons “will also be managing subcontracts and procurement using an approach that prioritizes Yukon and First Nation businesses and hires,” according to the press release.
In an email, Melissa Madden, a spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, said the funding agreement requires that work be divided into subcontracts for bidding by local companies.
Construction activities slated to be managed by Parsons include building the North Fork Rose Creek diversion, which will redirect the creek away from contamination on the site.
“Parsons Inc. will be tendering various work packages over the next few months to commence construction,” Madden said.
Parsons is required to structure work packages and sub-contracts to maximize opportunities for northern and Indigenous businesses, she said.
Certain projects will be set aside specifically for aboriginal businesses. In other cases bidders must outline “how they will maximize local involvement in the project, and must meet a target percentage for Indigenous employment,” she said.
“They must also outline training plans for Indigenous employees. Successful bidders must meet or exceed their commitments or face financial penalties.”
In a statement Ross River Dena Council Chief Jack Caesar said he was pleased that the First Nation was involved in the procurement process to find Parsons.
“Finally, we are coming to a place where we can put the shovel in the ground and start the important remediation process,” Caesar said.
“These are exciting times: working with Canada, Yukon government and the new interim construction manager, Parsons, we see something for our younger people to be excited about.”
The Faro mine was once the largest open pit lead-zinc mine in the world. When it shut down in 1998, 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock were left behind, draining metals and acids into the water and land.
The federal government is paying for the care and maintenance as well as the eventual clean-up. Last June officials estimated that the final bill would be half a billion dollars on top of what has already been spent.
A remediation plan with full regulatory approval is expected by 2021, according to the federal government. The major construction phase would start in 2022 and is expected to last 15 years.
Contact Ashley Joannou at firstname.lastname@example.org