Faro, Yukon

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Faro is a small town in the central Yukon, Canada, formerly the home of the largest open pit leadzinc mine in the world as well as a significant producer of silver and other natural resource ventures. The mine was built by the Ralph M. Parsons Construction Company of the USA with General Enterprises Ltd. of Whitehorse being the main subcontractor. Currently (June 2007) the population is 400, considerably lower than its peak of over 2,100 in February 1982. Faro was named after the card game.

As these industries have declined over the past decade, Faro is attempting to attract eco-tourists to the region to view such animals as Dall's Sheep and Stone's Sheep—a species of mountain sheep almost unique to the surrounding area. Several viewing platforms have been constructed in and around the town.

One unique feature of Faro is that it has a golf course running through the main part of town.[1] Residents are also treated to frequent sightings of wildlife.

Lorne Greene, famous for his work in Bonanza, once narrated a film about Faro called A New World in the Yukon.

History[edit]

The area was prospected in the 1950s and 1960s by Al Kulan,[2] credited with discovering several significant deposits of lead and zinc ore and playing a major role in the discovery of the Faro Mine, which became Canada's largest lead-zinc mine.[3] The Cyprus Anvil Mining Corporation[2] established the first operations to mine the deposits, and established the town of Faro. A new highway was built between Carmacks and Ross River to serve the Faro area - initially numbered Highway 9, it is today part of the Robert Campbell Highway, Yukon Highway 4.

Al Kulan was murdered in 1977 by a person diagnosed by a psychiatrist called by his defense counsel at trial as having a "paranoid personality disorder compounded by alcohol abuse" and who had a list of people he wanted to kill including the Commissioner of the Yukon. The murderer had no mining connection with Kulan. The victim, who was living in Vernon, B.C. at the time, was actively involved in mineral exploration at the time of his death and was in Ross River to prospect an area nearby.

A forest fire in 1969 destroyed the beautiful newly built homes, and work had to start all over again. The mine remained in more-or-less constant production until 1982. Trucks carried the ore concentrate from the mill by highway to Whitehorse, where the buckets were lifted from the trucks and lowered onto cars of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway. The trains took the buckets another 106 miles to Skagway, Alaska, where the contents were poured out into the holds of ships. During those years, Cyprus Anvil was purchased by Dome Petroleum.

World prices for metals fell in 1982, and the mine owners announced in May a two-month halt to production starting in June, 1982. In July, the mine owners extended the shutdown to four months. In September, the owners announced that the shutdown would be indefinite.

Under new ownership, and with government funding, a waste-rock stripping operation began in 1985, and under new owners, Curragh Resources, production resumed in 1986. This time, ore was trucked in ore pots from Faro directly to Skagway, bypassing the railway. This operation ended in 1993, not long after Curragh Resources suffered a coal mining disaster at the Westray Mine in Plymouth, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. A third operation, by the Anvil Range Mining Corporation, opened in 1995 and ceased production in January 1998, followed by the bankruptcy of Anvil Range. Much of the heavy mining and milling equipment was sold and removed from the Yukon.

Any prospect for further mining of the lead-zinc resource would now require significant investment to bring in mining equipment, and it would need to come entirely by road unless a B.C.-Alaska railway is built or the White Pass route is reopened to freight traffic to Whitehorse. Cost of cleanup is estimated at close to a billion dollars.[4]

Transportation[edit]

The town is served by the Faro Airport.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Faro Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high Humidex 5.4 10.8 11.4 19.6 29.7 35.4 33.9 32.8 23.9 17.8 12.0 11.7 35.4
Record high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
12.1
(53.8)
12.5
(54.5)
21.5
(70.7)
32.0
(89.6)
33.8
(92.8)
31.0
(87.8)
33.9
(93)
24.0
(75.2)
18.5
(65.3)
12.5
(54.5)
12.5
(54.5)
33.9
(93)
Average high °C (°F) −16.0
(3.2)
−10.3
(13.5)
−2.1
(28.2)
6.8
(44.2)
13.8
(56.8)
19.6
(67.3)
21.0
(69.8)
18.4
(65.1)
11.5
(52.7)
1.7
(35.1)
−11.1
(12)
−13.8
(7.2)
3.3
(37.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) −20.1
(−4.2)
−15.5
(4.1)
−8.6
(16.5)
0.6
(33.1)
7.5
(45.5)
13.2
(55.8)
15.0
(59)
12.4
(54.3)
6.4
(43.5)
−2.0
(28.4)
−14.8
(5.4)
−17.9
(−0.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
Average low °C (°F) −24.6
(−12.3)
−20.7
(−5.3)
−15.0
(5)
−5.5
(22.1)
1.2
(34.2)
6.8
(44.2)
8.9
(48)
6.3
(43.3)
1.3
(34.3)
−5.7
(21.7)
−18.5
(−1.3)
−22.3
(−8.1)
−7.3
(18.9)
Record low °C (°F) −51.0
(−59.8)
−51.0
(−59.8)
−44.0
(−47.2)
−30.5
(−22.9)
−8.0
(17.6)
−2.5
(27.5)
0.0
(32)
−4.5
(23.9)
−15.5
(4.1)
−34.0
(−29.2)
−46.0
(−50.8)
−52.0
(−61.6)
−52.0
(−61.6)
Wind chill −59.1 −58.9 −53.1 −34.2 −16.4 0.0 0.0 −2.4 −13.0 −30.4 −58.3 −60.0 −60.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 14.6
(0.575)
12.3
(0.484)
12.3
(0.484)
8.7
(0.343)
27.9
(1.098)
36.7
(1.445)
56.1
(2.209)
48.2
(1.898)
41.0
(1.614)
27.3
(1.075)
19.4
(0.764)
15.2
(0.598)
319.7
(12.587)
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.004)
2.6
(0.102)
27.3
(1.075)
36.7
(1.445)
56.1
(2.209)
47.5
(1.87)
38.4
(1.512)
9.4
(0.37)
0.2
(0.008)
0.1
(0.004)
218.4
(8.598)
Snowfall cm (inches) 16.7
(6.57)
14.6
(5.75)
13.1
(5.16)
6.3
(2.48)
0.6
(0.24)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.7
(0.28)
2.4
(0.94)
20.4
(8.03)
21.7
(8.54)
17.6
(6.93)
114.0
(44.88)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 10.7 8.6 7.3 5.3 11.6 12.7 17.7 15.2 15.2 13.9 12.5 10.8 141.4
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.5 11.2 12.7 17.7 15.0 14.2 5.0 0.2 0.1 77.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.1 8.9 7.4 4.0 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.4 9.5 12.9 11.4 67.4
 % humidity 79.2 71.9 54.8 41.4 47.9 50.4 55.4 63.7 81.2 81.0 62.7
Source: Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quilici, Don (18 July 2012). "Outdoors with Don Q: The Yukon’s infamous Robert Campbell Highway". Carson Now. Carson City News, Carson, Nevada. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  2. ^ a b "History of Faro". Town of Faro: Yukon's Best Kept Secret. 2004. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  3. ^ Guest, H. (2012). "Faro". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  4. ^ Merit Consultants International Ltd.; responsible for projected clean-up cost reports. Jan, 2010
  5. ^ "Faro A" (CSV (2874 KB)). Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Climate ID: 2100517. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 62°13′59″N 133°19′59″W / 62.23306°N 133.33306°W / 62.23306; -133.33306 (Faro)