WHITEHORSE - Yukon is expecting an excellent year for the mining industry. Based on a preliminary survey by the Yukon government and Natural Resources Canada, exploration is expected to increase to $32.5 million, $10 million higher than last year.
"Drilling is already underway for many sites that are going to see active exploration this summer. Yukon is expecting a $10 million increase in mining exploration dollars as a result of the mining community's renewed excitement in the Yukon," Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Archie Lang said.
"This is money that will spread through the territory helping to create jobs for Yukoners and increased spending for local goods and services."
As the government continues to encourage more exploration in the Yukon, it has also been helping move projects closer to full production.
"We want to see active mines in the Yukon so we have created a new process called integrated project management to help companies move through the permit process properly and efficiently," Lang said.
The process is headed up by a committee of deputy ministers. Each project is assigned a coordinator, whose primary role is to work closely with the companies to provide advice and help them through required regulatory processes.
The Yukon government has already used this process for two projects: Western Silver's Carmacks Copper project and Yukon Zinc's Wolverine mine proposal. To date, it has resulted in a mining land use permit for Yukon Zinc and a project agreement is near conclusion with Western Silver.
Yukon Zinc is spending $10.2 million for a test mining and feasibility program at its Wolverine project in the Finlayson Lake district, located in between Watson Lake and Ross River.
"We have completed the winter road and are currently mobilizing supplies and equipment to the property," company president Dr. Harlan Meade said. "Drilling has started and we believe we have a world class deposit in the area."
Western Silver is in the process of re-entering the environmental assessment and permitting processes for its Carmacks Copper property. A feasibility study of the project was completed in 1998.
"We anticipate that Western Silver will be filing an application for a production license this spring," Lang said.
Tagish Lake Gold is working on an underground drilling program at the Skukum Creek gold-silver deposit in the Wheaton River area, off the Annie Lake Road. The company will be drilling about sixteen holes to expand the mineral resource this year.
Freegold Ventures recently announced resumption of drilling on the Grew Creek gold deposit located 35km west of Ross River. An exploration program is currently underway on the property.
"High gold prices also mean good news for our placer industry. Overall, this will be a great year for Yukon's mining sector," Lang said.
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|Peter Carr||Laurie Sthamann|
|Cabinet Communications Advisor||Energy, Mines and Resources|
|(867) 667-8688||(867) 667-3163|