FCSNW2018 English header

Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
255 Front St West, North Building, Toronto Ontario 
June 13-15, 2018 


Faro Mine Remediation Project: Working with Partners to Achieve Mine Closure
Lou Spagnuolo Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The objective of this presentation is to outline how a partnership approach can be used to successfully advance a contaminated site project.
Abstract

The Faro Mine site, located in the Yukon approximately 200 km northeast of Whitehorse, produced lead and zinc intermittently from the 1960's until 1998 when Anvil Range Mining Corporation was placed into receivership. At one point, it was the largest open pit mine in the world and is now one of the biggest contaminated sites in Canada, with over 320 million tonnes of waste rock and 70 million tonnes of tailings – both of which are acid generating and leaching metals into the surrounding environment. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada is responsible for funding the remediation of the Faro Mine site and works in close collaboration with all of our partners, in particular the Government of Yukon, Kaska Nation and Selkirk First Nation. This presentation will examine the partnership model being implemented to advance the project in a more inclusive manner.

From 2003 until 2008 the project team completed various studies to characterize the environmental issues at the site which culminated in the development of a number of viable closure options. In 2009, the project was able to reach consensus on a preferred option known as the “stabilize-in-place” approach. This plan involves upgrading diversions and dams to ensure tailings remain stable, re-sloping all waste rock dumps to improve long-term stability and installing engineered soil covers over the tailings and waste rock. This option also provides for state-of-the-art collection and treatment systems for contaminated water post-closure.

Since 2009, the project team has been working to further develop the approved conceptual approach and complete a detailed closure plan. In 2018, this plan will be submitted to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board and subsequently the Yukon Water Board for review. Following the issuance of all necessary licenses and permits, implementation of the closure plan is expected to start in 2022 and take approximately 15 years to complete.

Before mining commenced, the people of the Kaska Nation used the land for subsistence. The abandoned mine site is also upstream of the traditional territory of the Selkirk First Nation. In addition to the potential for widespread environmental effects, the Government of Yukon is also interested in the positive impact to the territory’s economy. As a result, there is particular interest in returning the site to pre-mining land use and minimizing any further impact to water quality while providing socio-economic benefits to the region. Therefore, through an on-going and respectful government-to-government dialogue, the Faro Mine Remediation Project is committed to developing a positive and long-term relationship which will result in meaningful participation by all parties.

Remediation of Tundra Mine
John MacKenzie1, Warren Bebeau1, Giselle Cotta2, Joel Gowman3, Siobhan Sutherland3
1AECOM
2Public Services and Procurement Canada
3Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The objective of this presentation is to provide a summary of the project remediation works and highlight the engineering challenges experienced with the Tundra Mine site remediation, specifically during the 2017 construction season, including: borrow source identification, designing to bedrock depths and permafrost protection; construction over the tailings containment area; and, managing sedimentation and erosion potential in the design.
Abstract

Tundra Mine, located approximately 240 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, NWT was an underground gold mine, in operation between the years 1964 and 1968, and supporting operations at the nearby Salmita Mine from 1983 to 1987. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) assumed responsibility for the site in 1998 after the mine operator was placed in receivership and abandoned the site.

Mine operations had left the Tundra site with environmental and physical hazards. Upon assuming control, INAC undertook care and maintenance of the site, and completed a site wide assessment to identify the extent of environmental and physical risks. An overall remedial action plan (RAP) was developed based on studies and stakeholder consultation, and the site remediation was broken out into two phases. Phase I remediation was carried out in 2007, and primary activities included demolition and on-site disposal of mill facilities, sealing of underground works, the removal and off-site disposal of hazardous materials, and the closure and capping of the former dump site.

The following environmental issues of concern were identified in the RAP to be addressed at part of the Phase II work:
• Potentially acid generating (PAG) waste rock;
• Arsenic rich tailings;
• Arsenic impacted water in the tailings containment area (TCA); and,
• Petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated (PHC) soils.

The Phase II remediation work activities were completed between 2010 and 2017 and generally included the following:
• Water treatment of over one million cubic metres of arsenic impacted water;
• On-site PHC contaminated soil treatment;
• Removal and relocation of over 200,000 cubic meters of tailings into the TCA;
• Disposal of PAG rock and treated PHC soils into the TCA;
• TCA construction and grading, bituminous geomembrane (BGM) liner system installation and cover material placement covering more than 26 hectares;
• Excavation and grading of a diversion ditch around the TCA, including BGM liner installation, and placement of drainage rock;
• Construction of a channel between Mill Pond and Upper Pond;
• Upper Pond stabilization and armouring with granular aggregate material;
• Borrowing of granular aggregate material from various sources;
• Borrowing of cover soils and stabilization of the West Lower Pond Borrow Area (WLPBA);
• Regrading and armouring of Lower Pond; and
• General site clean-up, minor demolition, grading, and maintenance.

Jericho Diamond Mine: Site Stabilization of a Remote Site
Mark Yetman1 and Michael Bernardin2
1Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
2Public Services and Procurement Canada
The objective of this presentation is to detail the life of the project and how the plan to remediate the site evolved from full remediation to site stabilization.
Abstract

The Jericho Diamond Mine is a defunct mine that Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is responsible for managing. The site is not FCSAP eligible due to the contamination occurring post-1999. This presentation will discuss the history of the mine and how it came to be under the care and control of INAC. INAC navigated the project through two phases of care and maintenance, explored options to sell the site, and eventually moved the project through an environmental assessment and developed remedial options.

The presentation will cover the challenges associated with funding the remediation and refining the scope of the remedial options to fit the available budget. It will then describe the challenges of tendering and re-tendering a project originally envisioned as a winter road mobilization, later re-scoped and delivered as a “fly-in/out” project utilizing a C-130 Hercules aircraft. The scope revisions were prioritized by evaluating the risks at the site and the cost of the associated care and maintenance activities (with the main driving being water management).

Implementation of the site stabilization plan (SSP) for the Jericho site occurred during the summer of 2017. The main challenges encountered include: • Obtaining regulatory approvals in a timely manner (due to the volume of water being moved on-site).
• Mobilization via C-130 Hercules aircraft. Since there are none of these aircraft currently available in Canada approval from Transport Canada was required to authorize the work and limitations on what could be carried were instituted. There were also weather delays and delays due to the availability of the aircraft.
• Excavation of the West Dam (frozen core dam).

The implementation of a SSP instead of full remediation means there are residual risks at the site. The residual risks have been evaluated and documented in a project risk register and the highly rated risks are being managed through a long-term operation, maintenance and surveillance (OMS) plan for the site. The OMS plan for Jericho commences in 2018 and it is anticipated to continue until the residual risks have been addressed.

Faro Mine Remediation Project – North Fork Rose Creek Realignment Urgent Work Project
Geoff Karcher1, Jim Cassie2, Jack Seto2
1Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
2BGC Engineering Ltd.
The objective of this presentation is to provide an overview of the North Fork Rose Creek Urgent Work Project with a specific focus on engineering and design considerations included to manage permafrost and other sequencing challenges related to the project's northern location.
Abstract

Faro Mine, a lead zinc operation located in central Yukon, operated from 1969 until 1998, when the final owner went into bankruptcy and the mine was abandoned. The abandoned mine is co-managed by the federal government, represented by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, in association with the territorial government, represented by the Yukon Government Assessment and Abandoned Mines. The Faro Mine Complex comprises three open pits, 300 million tonnes of acid-generating waste rock, 50 million tonnes of acid-generating tailings, two tailings dams, numerous diversion channels, along with various haul and access roads. Closure planning is underway but an “urgent work” project has been created to deal with a significant contamination risk before implementing closure.

The North Fork Rose Creek (NFRC) Realignment Project requires the design and construction of a new non-contact water diversion channel and contact water collection system to realign the creek and protect the clean creek waters flowing from the upstream watershed from impacted seepage from the waste rock dumps. This presentation will focus on the design challenges and northern considerations regarding the NFRC Realignment Project, including unspecified impacted seepage locations; nearby important mine infrastructure; management of in-channel ice build-up; permafrost and its associated challenges including cover and thaw attenuation; limiting settlement; and, sequencing implications. Fish habitat impacts and the compensation and management of contaminated water during construction are other key considerations of this project.

Alternative closure methods for mine openings at remote legacy mines
David Sanscartier and Patty Ogilvie-Evans
Saskatchewan Research Council
The objective of this presentation is to present closure methods for an underground mine opening implemented in northern Saskatchewan and lessons learned from their application.
Abstract

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is managing the remediation of 37 legacy mines on public land in northern Saskatchewan on behalf of the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy. Sites include openings to the underground that require proper closure to ensure long-term public safety. In Saskatchewan, the legislated requirement is to close openings with a reinforced concrete bulkhead designed by a professional engineer. This is challenging in remote locations with no road access or where access is limited to an ice road for a four- to six-week period during the winter.

Since the outset of Project CLEANS, various alternative methods have been implemented successfully: stainless steel caps, boulder covers, waste rock backfills and polyurethane foam plugs. These methods have gained acceptance from the regulators as safe and durable mine closure methods for remote sites, and are slowly being utilized by other projects in Saskatchewan and in other jurisdictions. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, the selected approach must meet criteria such as: competitive life cycle cost; sufficient service life; ease of transport; prevent unauthorised access; withstand forest fires; ease of installation; and, minimal field fitting. This presentation will present the different methods applied to the mine sites and lessons learned from their application.

Assessment and Remediation of a Former US Air Force Station at a Remote Northern Site in Hopedale, NL: A 10-Year Success Story
Jim Slade, Stantec Consulting Ltd.
The objective of this presentation is to share the story of completing a complex site assessment, risk assessment and subsequent remedial program of a Former US Military Site located in a remote northern community.
Abstract

During the 1950s, the US Air Force (USAF) built a military radar station approximately one kilometre north of Hopedale, Labrador. The Hopedale station was in operation until 1968 at which point, the site was considered obsolete. It was therefore abandoned with all infrastructure, equipment and materials left in place. In 1985, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador took responsibility for the site and demolished all remaining structures associated with the decommissioned facility. By 1998 however, concerns about possible contamination initiated an environmental investigation of the site by the province. Subsequent investigations at the site through the mid-2000s indicated that concentrations of PCBs above acceptable guidelines were present. In 2007, the province commissioned a review of the available background and historical information to complete a gap analysis and develop a plan forward for the site and the Town of Hopedale, including the new residential subdivision, freshwater streams and ponds and Hopedale Harbour.

As part of an environmental site assessment and human health and ecological risk assessment (HHERA) of the former military site and nearby residential subdivision, there was extensive sampling of many media throughout the area. The HHERA evaluated the effect of concentrations of PHCs, metals, PAHs, PCBs and VOCs in soil, groundwater, sediment, surface water and plant and animal tissue on humans, as well as a variety of freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecological receptors. Impacts were identified in the marine environment and the following were completed: a dive survey of the harbour; collected marine sediment cores for Lead-210 and Cesium-137 dating; delineated harbour impacts; and, collected bathymetric and physical oceanographic data on currents and sedimentation rates for input into a marine sediment transport model for the harbour. The HHERA considered site risk as well as the potential effects on the local community who use the area as an aboriginal hunting ground.

A risk management plan (RMP) was completed in 2010. The RMP implementation (2011 to 2016) included: tender preparation, contractor supervision, public consultation, closure reporting, and yearly stakeholder group meetings since 2011. PHC impacted soil was treated at the site using a temporary biopile (approximately 1,700 tonnes); metals and PCB impacted soil were transported to an off-site treatment facility (approximately 6,000 tonnes). Additional stages of remediation are pending future funding.

This presentation will discuss the issues and complexities experienced executing this program, share lessons learned and that value of community involvement, as well as outline the next steps.

Winter is Coming! Northern/Remote Site Challenges – Site Access, Operations and Logistical Challenges
Meredith Guest1, Jordan Stones2, Robert Price2
1SNC-Lavalin Inc.
2Public Services and Procurement Canada
The objective of this presentation is to identify specific logistical challenges faced when working in harsh northern and remote conditions and what planning is needed to help mitigate these to ensure successful completion of the project.
Abstract

Remediation challenges in northern remote climates are many. When work must happen in cold climates and during winter months, the key to overcoming these challenges is to be prepared.

These challenges will be discussed in the context of the delivery of a multi-year program for the assessment, remediation and risk assessment of three active Highway Maintenance Yards along the Alaska Highway in remote Northern British Columbia with an overall objective of significant environmental liability reduction. The overall remediation approach for the sites included a combination of techniques including soil excavation, in situ remediation and risk assessment. Due to circumstances, a significant portion of the work was undertaken in fall and winter months where temperatures dropped to extreme lows, which presented significant challenges to the execution of the program.

While the timing of work programs in winter months does not present ideal circumstances, these cannot always be avoided. These circumstances can arise due to such things as lengthy programs, expedited assessment/remediation stages, site use operations, planning, and availability of funding. Other conditions may give rise to the need for winter scheduled work plans such as access, supplemental remediation or investigations activities. These tasks are often required to ensure timely completion of assigned programs.

This presentation will highlight a situation arising at a remote location which involved the remedial soil excavation of more than 30,000 m3 from three remote maintenance yard sites, as well as in situ remedial testing and extensive drill programs that were completed during winter months. The focus will be on ensuring a project manager and their team are prepared for when certain circumstances of this nature are unavoidable.

Specific challenges included: health and safety risks of working in cold environments; communication in remote areas; significant frost in soils over one metre in depth; time and travel distances to site in winter conditions; backfilling limitations; equipment operation in extreme temperatures (-40oC); and, soil treatment facility liner complications. Due to the remoteness of the project and sites, other challenges that complicated the program included maintaining sufficient communications and encounters with wildlife.

Working in the Great White North – Contingency, Contingency, Contingency: Things to Consider When Completing Environmental Site Investigations and Risk Assessments
Jennifer Kirk, Samuel Lingwood, Charles Gravelle, Michael Weber
Arcadis Canada Inc.
The objective of this presentation is to share the challenges, lessons learned and considerations for completing work in Northern Canada and at remote locations.
Abstract

Completing work in Northern Canada and in remote locations brings unique challenges to the project that typically do not need to be considered when working at sites less remote (i.e., more readily accessible or in more urbanized areas of the country). The keys to the successful delivery of these projects includes planning for every conceivable event and having multiple contingency plans established and actionable as circumstances dictate.

This presentation will discuss considerations for planning work in the north and in remote locations generally. For instance, what does the project team need to do and know prior to mobilization and what conditions could they experience while there? What specific training should the staff have and what additional health and safety considerations need to be planned for? How does communication with the project team differ when working remotely and what modifications to the health and safety protocols need to be considered?

Contingencies for weather and unsafe working conditions (e.g., potential presence of wildlife) need to be part of every such project. Expect the unexpected. Methods employed to address or mitigate project challenges in the North or other remote locations, including contingencies adopted to ensure the safety of staff and success of the projects, will be presented and discussed.

For instance, the planned project scope must consider logistical challenges such as: time of year and potential weather variations during scheduled work; personal protective equipment in cold weather environments; weight limitations for helicopters; equipment mobilization limitations and sequencing; permafrost; decontamination procedures in cold weather; removal of wastes from remote sites; processing of environmental samples within prescribed hold times; as well as field efficiencies to gather maximum data in one mobilization.

Site characterization studies to support a risk assessment, despite the limitations of sampling programs in the North, will also be discussed including project examples of successful challenge management and planning for the unexpected.

Questions en

fb icon   Twitter icon   linkedIn icon