ALL OF A SUDDEN MAJORS AND JUNIORS ALIKE ARE SNAPPING UP PROPERTIES IN YUKON.
For decades, Yukon has failed to live up to its mining potential. This territory, roughly as large as Spain, currently hosts only one major operating mine – Capstone’s Minto copper mine. Despite its widely acknowledged mineral wealth, companies have been reluctant to invest heavily in Yukon as they focused on overseas acquisitions during the boom years and cited high operational costs in this territory during the downturn.
However, recent developments suggest that a paradigm change is in the works. Vancouver-based giant Goldcorp acquired Kaminak Gold in July 2016 through a $500 million transaction. Its Coffee Gold project is a high-grade, heap leach project and Goldcorp is currently in the process of reviewing and optimizing Kaminak’s feasibility study along with developing infrastructure.
Another major with an established presence in Yukon is Kinross Gold, which acquired the White Gold property in 2010 with an inferred resource of 400,000 oz at its Golden Saddle zone. Last December, Agnico Eagle announced the acquisition of 19.3% of White Gold Corp, the largest landholder in the prolific White Gold district. More recently, Newmont became the latest major to enter this territory, announcing an agreement to spend $53 million to explore and develop Goldstrike Resources’ Plateau property.
This stampede of investments has raised prospects for the mining industry in Yukon, which may ultimately deliver the economic opportunities and development that the territory needs.
As majors start to get their hold on new projects, exploration activity has picked up and prospects for the upcoming years look promising. Goldcorp’s drilling activities at the Supremiato target during the last quarter of 2016 yielded positive results with intercepts of 4.79 g/mt gold over 9.14 m from 114 m and 4.52 g/mt gold over 15.24 m from 30.5 m. Probable reserves at Coffee stand at 46 million mt grading 1.45 g/mt for 2.2 million oz gold with an expected mine life of 10 years.
However, Goldcorp’s plans in Yukon are more ambitious. In this regard, Brent Bergeron, executive vice president of corporate affairs and sustainability at Goldcorp, declared: “The feasibility study done by Kaminak established a 10 year mine life for Coffee; that just took into account a very small portion of the overall land package they had. We believe there is a lot more potential.
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