Faro Mine: History
In 1953, prospector Al Kulan with the assistance of Kaska prospectors Jack Ladue, Robert Etzel, Joe Etzel, Art John and Jack Sterriah discovered the Vangorda Creek lead-zinc deposit. It was located 48 km downstream of the community of Ross River. At the time the deposit was considered too small and remote to be mined, but it led to discovery of the Faro ore deposit some ten years later.
While in the Faro area, Kulan's guide was a First Nations trapper and resident by the name of Joe Ladue. Joe's son Jim is still a familiar face in Faro and the neighbouring community of Ross River. In 1960, Kulan and Aaro Aho formed the company Dynasty Explorations to work on the claims that Kulan had staked. When they started doing in depth exploration of the ore body around Faro, they realized they had hit upon a world-class deposit of Lead/Zinc ore (galena).
By 1965, there were over 100 men working in the area, and Dynasty had an airstrip built on the claim site. Later, Dynasty joined forces with Cypress Mining of Los Angeles California to form the Cyprus Anvil Mining Corporation. The mine opened officially in 1969, and Cyprus Anvil quickly became the largest private sector employer in the territory. It also represented well over a third of the economy of Yukon, and by the mid 1970's was the largest lead/zinc mine in Canada. At one point, for a brief period, it was even the largest operating open-pit lead/zinc mine in the world!
In 1988, a second mining area called the Vangorda Plateau was developed. The Vangorda and the Grum deposits went into production in 1990 with the ore transported to the Faro Mine area for processing. Mining continued intermittently until 1998 when the last operator, Anvil Range Mining Corporation, sought protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and was placed into receivership.