Failure of Victoria Gold processing plant in Yukon spurred by rock collapse inside gold mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 27, 2024)

An internal rock collapse at a gold mine in the Yukon was a major factor in the collapse of a gold processing plant operated by Victoria Gold Corp., The Globe and Mail has learned.

Whitehorse-based Victoria Gold on Monday said that its heap leach pad had failed at its Eagle gold mine, and that part of the infrastructure had breached the containment region, raising the possibility of environmental damage from cyanide leaking into the environment.

Heap leaching involves stacking mined ore into giant piles and then sprinkling it with hundreds of litres of water laced with cyanide. Assisted by gravity, the toxic solution causes gold to leach from the ore. The resulting “pregnant” solution then drips into a lined outdoor pond. The solution is finally pumped to an enclosed facility where the gold is collected.

The company did not say what caused its heap leach pad to fail, but images that have circulated online indicate that a significant rock collapse had occurred.

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