Authors: Adams, BM; Scully, KH; Seto, JTC; Harrison, B

Open access courtesy of:


Cite As:
Adams, BM, Scully, KH, Seto, JTC & Harrison, B 2022, 'Faro Mine, Yukon Territory, Canada: a case study for optimising zinc load capture by clean water diversion and focused contact water capture', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 341-354,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

The Faro Mine, located in the central Yukon, produced lead, zinc, silver, and gold from the late 1960s until 1998, when the mine was abandoned. Seepage from sulfidic waste stored in the Faro waste rock dumps (WRDs) has variably impacted groundwater and surface water reporting to the North Fork of Rose Creek (NFRC), a fish-bearing surface water body, which passes along the toe of the Faro WRDs. Zinc is the primary parameter of concern, reaching several orders of magnitude higher than applicable water quality guidelines, and previous yearly maximum concentrations. Interception of contact water before it reaches the NFRC has been challenging due to the complex seepage patterns within the WRDs and proximity of the creek. Despite existing collection systems intercepting high concentration seepage pathways, zinc remained elevated in the creek. The NFRC Realignment Project commenced in 2015 to ‘keep clean water clean’ by diverting the NFRC into the non-contact water diversion channel (NCWDC) and allowing focused collection of WRD seepage in the remnant NFRC channel. The first phase of the contact water collection and conveyance system (CW System) was focused on the interception of shallow groundwater and surface flow in the remnant NFRC. The NCWDC was commissioned on 24 October 2020, and the initial CW System was commissioned on 15 April 2021. Isolating the clean water through construction of the NCWDC substantially reduced the surface water available for dilution. Both the uncertainty in capturing contact water prior to it reaching the creek and the inefficiency of capturing contact water once mixing occurred with creek flow were mitigated with this approach. A year after commissioning the NFRC Realignment Project, performance monitoring shows measured zinc concentrations in the NFRC approximately two orders of magnitude lower at the downstream monitoring station than realised by previous efforts.

Keywords: contact water, mine closure, water management, creek diversion, zinc, remediation, pumping, modelling, hydrogeology, hydrology, civil engineering, geochemistry, cold regions

Bond, JD 1999, Surficial Geology Map of Mount Mye and Faro (105K/3 & 6 W), Central Yukon, Indian & Northern Affairs Canada/Department of Indian & Northern Development: Exploration & Geological Services Division, Yukon.
Bond, JD 2001, Quaternary Geology and Till Geochemistry of the Anvil District (Parts of 105K/2,3,5,6,7), Central Yukon Territory, Exploration and Geological Services Division, Yukon, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Yukon.
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) 2012, Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines, Ottawa.
Mine Environmental Neutral Drainage (MEND) 2009, Prediction Manual for Drainage Chemistry from Sulphidic Geologic Material – MEND Report 1.20.1, Smithers.
Panday, S, Langevin, CD, Niswonger, RG, Ibaraki, M & Hughes, JD 2013, MODFLOW-USG Version 1: An Unstructured Grid Version of MODFLOW for Simulating Groundwater Flow and Tightly Coupled Processes Using a Control Volume Finite-difference Formulation – Techniques and Methods 6-A45, United States Geological Survey, Reston, viewed 31 May 2022,
Pigage, LC 1990, ‘Field guide anvil Pb-Zn-Ag district, Yukon Territory, Canada’, in JG Abbott & RJW Turner (eds), Mineral Deposits of the Northern Canadian Cordillera, Yukon – Northeastern British Columbia (Field Trip 14), Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, pp. 283–308.
Rumbaugh, JO & Rumbaugh, DB 2017, Guide to Using Groundwater Vistas, Version 7, Environmental Simulations Incorporation, Leesport, viewed 31 May 2022,
Smith, CAS, Meikle, JC & Roots, CF (eds) 2004, ‘Ecoregions of the Yukon Territory: biophysical properties of Yukon landscapes’, PARC Technical Bulletin, no. 04-01.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to