Wednesday 7th December 2016

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Posts tagged ‘yukon’

Yukon Liberals break Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on Yukon power

November 8th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 7, 2016

Press time results:

  • Yukon Liberals 11 seats, 39% of popular vote
  • Yukon Party 6, 33%
  • New Democratic Party 2, 26%

The territory’s riding names evoke mining history but repeated enticements to the sector failed to keep the Yukon Party in power. On November 7 the YP’s 14 years of majority rule came to an end as the Yukon Liberals moved from third to first place, returning to government for the first time since 2002. The red surge claimed YP leader Darrell Pasloski’s Mountainview constituency.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Yukon’s legislative chamber gets a new seating arrangement
as the Liberals return to power. (Photo: Yukon Legislative Assembly)

The first MLA declared elected was Klondike incumbent and Liberal leader Sandy Silver. NDP leader Liz Hanson also won re-election in Whitehorse Centre.

On mining-related issues, the month-long campaign saw the YP supporting regulatory streamlining, an exploration tax credit, funding for industry groups and support for road and power infrastructure. The party also called for “Yukon-specific curriculum for geology and earth sciences, and an experiential trades program.”

The YP castigated opposition support for the federal carbon tax, “the most significant commitment that the Liberals made with respect to the mining sector.” The incumbents said it would boost residents’ costs overall, hitting the average placer mine with more than $230,000 in additional expenses.

Liberals countered that the territory fell significantly in Fraser Institute rankings of mining jurisdictions. The most recent FI Investment Attractiveness Index places Yukon 12th of 109 jurisdictions worldwide, but last in Canada. The previous year Yukon ranked sixth worldwide. In 2012 to 2013, and 2011 to 2012, the territory scored #1 globally.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Former teacher and placer miner
Sandy Silver becomes Yukon’s new premier. (Photo: Yukon Liberals)

Additionally, the Liberals said the YP “botched” the S-6 amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act and created regulatory uncertainty while “legal battles with First Nation governments have resulted in huge tracts of land being off limits to mining.”

Silver argued his was the only party with “a plan to work with First Nation governments to rejuvenate the mining sector.”

A former teacher who’s worked on a placer mine, Silver joined the Yukon legislature in 2011 and became Liberal leader in 2014.

The territory hosts development, exploration, prospecting and placer mining activity, not to mention reality TV shows. But commodity prices have reduced major mines to just one operation, Capstone Mining’s (TSX:CS) Minto copper-gold-silver open pit in central Yukon.

Among the more celebrated development projects is Coffee, nabbed by Goldcorp TSX:G last May in its $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold. Goldcorp plans to revise the project’s feasibility study, conduct further community consultations and begin initial permitting studies. The company foresees initial gold production by the end of 2020.

Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT says its Eagle gold project at the Dublin Gulch property is “expected to be Yukon’s next operating gold mine.” The two-open pit proposal reached feasibility in September and has all major permits in place, the company says.

Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino project has been sent for review to the highest level of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board. The company intends to optimize the project design to address concerns including the height of the proposed tailings dam.

Yukon’s home to about 37,500 residents.

Bravura Ventures options Golden Predator project in Yukon’s Tintina Gold Belt

October 24th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 24, 2016

High gold grades and wide, near-surface intercepts attracted Bravura Ventures CSE:BVQ to Golden Predator Mining’s (TSXV:GPY) Grew Creek project in southeastern Yukon. A 90% option announced October 24 would give Bravura the benefit of 290 holes totalling over 57,000 metres, including 70 holes and 19,000 metres sunk by Golden Predator since 2010.

A few highlights include:

Hole GCRC11-328

  • 5.96 g/t gold and 24.1 g/t silver over 68 metres, starting at 32 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 63.15 g/t gold and 344 g/t silver over 4 metres)

Hole GC10-001

  • 1.72 g/t gold over 146.3 metres, starting at 40 metres
  • (including 2.8 g/t gold over 32.2 metres)
  • (including 2.9 g/t gold over 15.7 metres)
  • (including 17.93 g/t gold over 3.1 metres)
Bravura Ventures options Golden Predator project in Yukon’s Tintina Gold Belt

True widths were unavailable.

The 110,000-hectare property’s Carlos zone measures about 300 metres along strike, 100 metres wide and remains open at depth below 400 metres. Bravura also sees potential at the underexplored Knoll zone, 2.5 kilometres southeast of Carlos. Located less than a kilometre from a highway, Grew Creek has powerlines passing nearby and year-round access.

“The company is very excited in its latest option and welcomes the opportunity to align itself with a progressive company such as Golden Predator,” remarked Bravura CEO Greg Burns. “We look forward to defining the next steps on this exceptional project.”

The 90% stake would cost Bravura $35,000 and 500,000 shares on closing, part of a total $950,000, two million shares and additional shares comprising 6% of the company within six years. Should Bravura define a resource estimate during that period, the company would pay Golden Predator an additional $50,000 and 500,000 shares. A second resource doubling the first would have Bravura issue 2% of its shares to the vendor. A 4% NSR applies.

Copper North Mining drills porphyry copper-gold in northern B.C.

October 20th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 20, 2016

Having released a PEA for its Carmacks copper-gold-silver project in the Yukon the previous week, Copper North Mining TSXV:COL reported drill results from the northern British Columbia Thor project on October 20. After two previous holes on the 20,000-hectare property’s Thor West area came up dry, a Thor East hole did better:

Hole TH16-01

  • 0.14% copper and 0.045 g/t gold over 107.6 metres, starting at 11.65 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.23% copper and 0.069 g/t gold over 37.13 metres)
  • (which includes 0.28% copper and 0.087 g/t gold over 23.85 metres)

True widths were unavailable.

Copper North Mining drills porphyry copper-gold in northern BC

Samples from the property’s Thor East area
show oxide-weathered granodiorite.

Traces of copper continue beyond that intercept to the end of the hole at 169.16 metres, the company stated. “The transition from stronger mineralization and quartz-veining at the top of the hole to weaker copper mineralization and phyllic alteration at depth suggests that drill hole TH16-01 may flank a mineralized porphyry centre.”

Next steps would include ground surveys at Thor East and evaluating multiple geochemical targets and alteration zones, the company added. Field work has already identified multiple targets over a four-by-six-kilometre area southeast of TH16-01.

“The large area of porphyry alteration and gossan zones remain an attractive exploration target,” commented president/CEO Harlan Meade. “The Thor project provides Copper North with an opportunity to explore for porphyry copper-gold type mineralization in the slopes and valleys 20 kilometres to the south of the Kemess South mine and mill complex.”

The former mine now lies within AuRico Metals’ (TSX:AMI) Kemess Underground gold-copper-silver property.

Copper North holds a 100% option on Thor, which has a road and power line passing through the property.

The company closed private placements totalling $279,050 this month.

Read more about Copper North Mining.

Adding Yukon gold and silver

October 17th, 2016

Copper North Mining brings copper mining costs south

 

Look at development-ready copper projects and “you’ll find most of them are very large, multi-billion-dollar projects,” says Copper North Mining TSXV:COL president/CEO Harlan Meade. “And if you look at the smaller projects, there aren’t that many that would be in the lower decile of the cost curve.” A revised PEA announced October 12 brought the company’s Carmacks project into that category by incorporating gold and silver into a new metallurgical flowsheet. But Meade sees further potential for the south-central Yukon property with additional improvements, a new resource—completed but not yet entered into the mine plan—and an optimistic price scenario for the conductive commodity.

Metallurgy was key to the new PEA. A 2012 feasibility study “was based on a copper-only heap leach operation and that suited the higher metal prices of the day,” Meade explains. In 2014 Copper North factored gold and silver into a revised PEA. The current PEA now calls for agitated tank leaching of copper oxides to produce cathode copper. That would be followed by agitated tank leach cyanidation and carbon-in-leach processing to produce gold and silver doré bars. Considering gold and silver credits, the open pit would produce copper at US$1.08 a pound.

Copper North Mining brings copper mining costs south

Carmacks’ new resource has yet to be worked into the mine plan.
Further improvements could come from resource expansion,
improved silver recovery and eventual sulphide recovery.

The PEA sees Carmacks averaging 30 million pounds of cathode copper, 19,500 ounces of gold and 21,600 ounces of silver annually over a seven-year mine life.

Pre-production capex comes to $214.7 million, with total capex of $263.6 million and after-tax payback in 5.3 years. Using an 8% discount rate, the pre-tax NPV comes to $11.9 million with a 9.4% IRR. After taxes, the numbers show minus-$11.4 million and 6.6%.

That’s based on copper at $2.50 a pound, with gold at $1,300 and silver at $17.50 an ounce. At $2.75 copper, the pre-tax numbers show a $55.9-million NPV and 14.2% IRR. Should copper hit $3, pre-tax numbers climb to $99.8 million and 18.7%.

“Some people are using $2.75,” says Meade. “I wouldn’t blame them because if you look at the fundamentals of copper I think we’re going to see it in the $2.50 to $2.75 range towards the end of next year, and that would be the environment we’d be financing in.”

Directly sourced equipment helps cut capex. “A lot of equipment used today is made in China and brought in by U.S. suppliers. If we go straight to the source we get a very, very significant reduction.”

A pre-feas priority will be last January’s maiden resource for three zones not included in the current PEA. Located south of the proposed open pit that incorporates zones 1, 4 and 7, new zones 12, 13 and 2000S show the following totals:

Oxide and transitional mineralization

  • measured and indicated: 3.7 million tonnes averaging 0.5% total copper, 0.35% acid-soluble copper, 0.132 g/t gold, 2.011 g/t silver and 0.15% copper sulphide

  • inferred: 822,614 tonnes averaging 0.42% total copper, 0.28% acid-soluble copper, 0.119 g/t gold, 1.91 g/t silver and 0.14% copper sulphide

Sulphide mineralization

  • measured and indicated: 3.73 million tonnes averaging 0.6% total copper, 0.06% acid-soluble copper, 0.128 g/t gold, 2.288 g/t silver and 0.55% copper sulphide

  • inferred: 4.37 million tonnes averaging 0.55% total copper, 0.04% acid-soluble copper, 0.123 g/t gold, 2.081 g/t silver and 0.52% copper sulphide

Each of the three zones remains open along strike and at depth. Oxides begin at surface and extend to shallow depths. Sulphides occur at depths as shallow as 50 metres, the report stated.

Totals for all six zones come to:

Oxide and transitional mineralization

  • measured and indicated: 15.7 million tonnes averaging 0.94% copper, 0.74% acid-soluble copper, 0.379 g/t gold and 3.971 g/t silver

  • inferred: 900,000 tonnes averaging 0.45% copper, 0.3% acid-soluble copper, 0.119 g/t gold and 1.9 g/t silver

Sulphide mineralization

  • measured and indicated: 8.1 million tonnes averaging 0.68% copper, 0.178 g/t gold and 2.332 g/t silver

  • inferred: 8.4 million tonnes averaging 0.63% copper, 0.15 g/t gold and 1.994 g/t silver

Meade wants additional drilling in and around the three new zones this spring to upgrade the inferred numbers and maybe expand the resource too. “Then we’ll do some engineering to design a pit to add to the existing plan,” he says.

And we’ve still got a lot of room for exploration and expansion. I think there’s significantly more copper oxides and sulphides if one turns on the drills.—Harlan Meade,
president/CEO of
Copper North Mining

Another priority will be silver recovery, now down to 9.4%, compared with 85.5% for copper and 84.4% for gold. Silver took a hit when tests sped up the leach process by increasing heat. “But we’ll probably get it back,” says Meade.

At some point the sulphides should undergo metallurgical studies to produce either cathode copper or a concentrate. “There’s work to be done that might significantly extend the mine life,” he points out. “And we’ve still got a lot of room for exploration and expansion. I think there’s significantly more copper oxides and sulphides if one turns on the drills.”

Permitting could begin in fall 2017. “Carmacks has already been through the process and I think this proposal would be a lot simpler than the previous heap leach project,” he maintains. “I think the regulators will find much of this has been reviewed before so we think it’ll take about eight months. If that’s done you could begin production in early 2019.”

Community relations look positive, he adds. “My predecessor spent a lot of time building a relationship with two first nations. They’re keen to get started on a benefits agreement. They’re supportive of what we’re doing and hope we get this going sooner than later.”

The 4,933-hecatre project has nearby water, sits 11 kilometres from power and has 13 kilometres of road and trail access to a seasonal road that’s 34 kilometres from the town of Carmacks.

Having kept costs down to the lower decile, “we think Carmacks has a very good probability of being financed fairly quickly, especially if we see a small improvement in the copper price. We see it developing quickly and probably becoming Canada’s next copper mine. It’s financeable and it’s a low-cost producer, what more could you ask for? I guess a little more mine life, but we’re working on that.”

The company has also been active in northwestern British Columbia, where summer drilling has wrapped up on the Thor copper-gold porphyry project. Meade expects to release assays shortly.

This month Copper North closed private placements totalling $279,050.

University of British Columbia research associate Murray Allan discusses the Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny project

September 23rd, 2016

…Read more

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon/NWT projects with B.C. LNG

September 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2016

Liquefied natural gas would be the fuel of choice to electrify two potential northern mines, according to a memorandum of understanding announced September 21. Casino Mining and Selwyn Chihong Mining said the proposed deal with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels would cut costs as well as CO2 emissions.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon projects with B.C. LNG

LNG could overcome diesel dependency
in grid-less regions of the North.

Through its subsidiary, Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN has the Casino gold-copper-molybdenum project undergoing environmental assessment. Selwyn Chihong’s Selwyn zinc-lead project currently moves towards pre-feasibility.

The plan would have Ferus build an LNG plant at Fort Nelson, in northeastern British Columbia’s Peace River oil and gas region. Ferus built and operates Canada’s first merchant LNG plant in northwestern Alberta. A related company, Eagle LNG Partners, has an LNG plant under construction in Florida. Ferus stated it provides LNG and compressed natural gas fuelling services including liquefaction, compression, storage and delivery to the oil and gas, mining, marine, rail and power generation sectors.

The plan “may also benefit neighbouring mines, industries and communities currently powered by diesel, by making the LNG more broadly available,” commented Ferus president/CEO Dick Brown.

“Neighbouring” might cover a lot of ground. Casino’s located in west-central Yukon. Selwyn straddles the Yukon/Northwest Territories border.

But for the time being the Coffee gold project, Yukon’s likeliest new mine and located only about 30 kilometres northwest of Casino, sticks to a diesel-fuelled plan. Low diesel costs ruled out “the additional $1.5-million capital expense associated with LNG storage and vaporization,” according to last January’s feasibility study. “If in the future diesel fuel costs increase, significant power generation cost savings may be realized by substituting LNG for diesel.”

Goldcorp TSX:G subsidiary Kaminak Gold hopes to begin Coffee construction in mid-2018.

Backers of the Fort Nelson proposal anticipate two phases of development to be commissioned in 2020 and 2022.

Wolf attacks bring Jack London redux to Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

September 14th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 14, 2016

Nature has inflicted many challenges on Cigar Lake, but most of them have been geological. Now local wildlife has turned against the project.

In what’s reported as strange behaviour for the species, wolves are stalking and even attacking the uranium mine’s employees. On September 14 the National Post reported one such canine wrapped its jaws around the neck of a kitchen worker. A security guard’s vehicle scared the attacker away. Considered unusual, the wolf “had apparently lain in wait for the young mining camp worker,” the NP stated.

Wolf attacks bring Jack London redux to Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

Cigar Lake staff have cited several instances of being watched or followed by wolves, the paper added. “They are absolutely huge … they have no fear of man and come into the job sites often at night,” a former employee informed the NP.

Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) majority-held operation lies roughly halfway between two 2005 wolf attacks, one of them fatal. As a result, the company fenced off Cigar Lake, cautioned employees and implemented deterrence devices such as “scare cannons,” according to the NP. Nevertheless, wolves and also bears continue to breach the barricades, Cameco acknowledges.

The newspaper characterizes the canine actions as a startling new phenomenon. But Jack London portrayed much more disturbing events in his 1906 novel White Fang.

It’s 50 below as two Yukon prospectors and their dog team find themselves tracked by an increasingly aggressive wolf pack. With gleaming eyes, the predators circle the men’s camps night after night, encroaching closer and closer and closer.

At times like that, “it’s a blame misfortune to be out of ammunition,” one guy observes.

Simply food for the predators, the dog team dwindles one by one. The two men dwindle to one.

The surviving prospector realizes his “living flesh was no more than so much meat, a quest of ravenous animals, to be torn and slashed by their hungry fangs, to be sustenance to them as the moose and the rabbit had often been sustenance to him.”

Evidently the quest for metals has always called for fortitude. And the world’s highest-grade uranium mine continues to face challenges.

Drilling to begin at Copper North Mining’s Thor project in B.C.

September 9th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 9, 2016

In a program announced early last month, Copper North Mining TSXV:COL has a rig in place at its Thor project in northwestern British Columbia. The first hole will target Thor East Area 3, which hosts “numerous small veins with copper and gold, and extensive alteration zones,” the company stated.

Drilling to begin at Copper North Mining’s Thor project in B.C.

Copper-stained granodiorite crops up
on Copper North’s Thor project.

Another hole will test the Thor West Area, defined by an induced polarization anomaly covering two kilometres by 2.5 kilometres, flanking a road to the former Kemess mine. Another Thor West hole has been planned 1.5 kilometres away, on the anomaly’s northern section.

Further drilling depends on results for these initial holes.

The campaign’s goal is porphyry copper-gold mineralization near the past-producing Kemess South open pit and mill complex, now within AuRico Metals’ (TSX:AMI) Kemess Underground gold-copper-silver property.

“The drill holes are very widely separated and may confirm the interpreted widespread mineral zones,” Copper North added. The company holds a 100% option on the approximately 20,000-hectare property.

In the Yukon, meanwhile, the flagship Carmacks copper project advances through the final stages of a PEA study. The company plans to improve on a 2014 PEA by factoring in gold and silver recovery.

Read more about Copper North Mining.

The northern enigma

September 2nd, 2016

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

by Greg Klein

They’re not necessarily the mob you’d find whooping it up in the Malamute Saloon. But the spell of the Yukon and neighbouring Alaska has attracted a unique collaboration of industry and academia with a mission—to unravel some of the geology that remains mysterious after more than a century of scrutiny. Demonstrated dramatically by Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold, the land of Robert Service, Jack London and countless TV reality shows still has considerable mineral wealth to be found.

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

Murray Allan (left), students Kathryn Grodzicki and Stephen Bartlett
take a break while mapping in Yukon’s Dawson Range.
(Photo: Murray Allan)

Joining the search are students and faculty from the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit. Catalysed by the discovery of the territory’s White Gold district, the group conducted its Yukon Gold Project from 2010 to 2012. They returned in 2014 with the current Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny project, partly inspired by the Kaminak discovery.

“We’re basically looking at everything from the Yukon-B.C. border all the way up to the Fairbanks area,” MDRU research associate Murray Allan tells ResourceClips.com. “It’s an enormous package of ground.”

The region includes Kaminak’s Coffee, Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino and Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks deposits, among other resources in the Dawson Range Mineral Belt.

Much of the work involves “digesting public information, assimilating already-existing data into coherent data sets that can be of value to companies when they’re deciding where to target,” Allan explains. “In parallel to that we’re doing our own field work, looking at areas that are poorly understood, sampling rocks, understanding the age and the controls on mineralization so companies can make much better technical exploration decisions.”

It’s “a huge, collaborative effort,” he emphasizes. “What we do relies 100% on the participation of industry sponsors and the exploration industry as a whole. Just as important is the relationship we have with the various government surveys.”

Last month the group collected a $557,670 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project also gets $700,000 in direct and in-kind contributions from Kaminak, Sumac Mines and Copper North. The MDRU works closely with the Yukon Geological Survey and also with the national surveys of Canada and the U.S.

Kaminak president Eira Thomas credited the group with bringing “a high level of scientific rigour … to our geological understanding of the Coffee gold resource. This knowledge ultimately contributes to improved exploration and development planning.”

The region’s lack of glaciation presents challenges as well as benefits, Allan points out. There’s little rock at surface, so trenching plays a bigger role in early-stage work. On the other hand, soils have largely stayed put for an awfully long time. “For example, if a program identifies a gold anomaly in soils, almost certainly they’re very close to a bedrock source of mineralization.” That helps explain legendary prospector Shawn Ryan’s success in sparking the Yukon’s most recent gold rush.

Speaking of legendary, the Klondike gold fields sit within the project area. There, the lack of glaciation “led to very deep weathering of mineralized rock, which ultimately led to the efficient accumulation of placer gold deposits,” Allan points out. Probably 20 million ounces or more have been pulled out of Klondike creeks. Yet a bedrock source of gold that’s economic by current mining standards remains elusive.

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

Some of the Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny team
on a site visit to Kaminak’s Coffee project.
(Photo: Murray Allan)

“Up until now, despite lots of effort, there’s been no notable discoveries of gold in the ground. Either it’s a problem with the exploration methods or our understanding of what controls gold in the Klondike, or perhaps there’s a good geological reason why there might not be huge quantities of gold in economic concentrations in the ground,” he says.

“Our role is to understand what controls mineralization of any age and any style. That plays into the structural controls, whether faults of a particular orientation might be important, or whether a certain igneous rock of a particular age might play a role. We have examples of both. We’ve identified a large number of systems related to Late Cretaceous intrusions, for example, which we know are very fertile for copper and gold mineralization. But the White Gold district that kicked off in 2009, for example, has no intrusions to our knowledge that control mineralization there. The gold seems to be purely associated with faults.”

Having wrapped up 2016 field work last month, the group’s back at UBC, busy processing samples and compiling data. Their findings, often in the form of maps and data sets, go first to industry sponsors. That gives the companies a short-term advantage during a period of confidentiality. Then the info goes public, in a thesis or academic publication.

But even back in Vancouver, the spell of the Yukon remains.

“It’s an interesting role for us to play, doing modern, cutting-edge science in an area that has that industrial heritage,” Allan says. “I don’t think anyone working in that area would deny that’s part of the appeal. But the fact remains that there’s a lot of gold we know about, for example in placer creeks, but not much knowledge about the source of that gold. So there remains a huge amount of potential for hard rock explorers in that part of the world. There’s a very legitimate economic reason for investment and exploration in that part of the Yukon and Alaska.”

The MDRU returns to the field next June.

Copper North Mining president/CEO Harlan Meade discusses PEA studies on Yukon’s Carmacks copper project

September 2nd, 2016

…Read more