Mining chatter in the Yukon these days is all about the yellow metal. It’s been that way for at least 10 years, according to geologist Mike Burke, who spent more than 20 years working for the Yukon Geological Survey before moving to the private sector.
“People were having a hard time in 2008, and then along came Kinross and bought Underworld Resources. That started an area play,” Burke recalls. Now headlines echo the shift toward the Yukon’s second gold rush. Victoria Gold (TSXV: VIT) is hurriedly building Eagle, the biggest gold mine in the history of the territory.
Goldcorp (TSX: G; NYSE: GG), fresh on the heels of a recent agreement with the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation, is seeking to wrap up permitting this year at the 5 million oz. Coffee gold project, which should reach commercial production by 2021, in the White Gold district.
And Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX: WRN; NYSE-AM: WRN) 1-billion-tonne Casino copper-gold project would double Yukon’s gold production, if the company can finance the $2.5 billion necessary to bring a mine online. But before the White Gold district was even a thing, base metals deposits hogged the spotlight in Yukon mining circles. “It’s the Nintendo generation. People have short-term memories,” Burke offers.
Base metals mania in the Yukon started in 1972, when Placer Development (which would later become Placer Dome) discovered Howard’s Pass in the prolific Selwyn basin. Howard’s Pass hosts some of the largest sedimentary-exhalative (sedex) zinc-lead deposits ever found.
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