Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 6, 2014

Board receives proposal for largest mine in Yukon history

The proposal for the territory’s largest-ever mine was submitted Friday to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB).

By Chuck Tobin on January 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The proposal for the territory’s largest-ever mine was submitted Friday to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB).

The Casino project is a proposal for a massive open-pit operation 100 kilometres northwest of Carmacks, on the west side of the Yukon River.

The Western Copper and Gold Corp. is targetting 2016 to begin construction with limited production by the end of 2017, company president Paul West-Sells explained in an interview in October 2013.

West-Sells said back then, Western Copper and Gold has spent $8 million over the last year preparing for the application to the assessment board.

The application consists of a 6,800 pages.

Western Copper and Gold is planning to process 120,000 tonnes per day, says the executive summary provided to the assessment board’s executive committee.

By comparison, according to numbers from the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, production at the Faro mine topped out in the 1980s at 12,000 tonnes per day, while capacity at the Minto Mine is currently 4,000 tonnes per day.

The company estimates over the 22-year life of the mine it will produce 5.7 million ounces of gold, 30.6 million ounces of silver, 3.6 billion pounds of copper and 325 million pounds of molybdenum, says the summary.

Bringing the project into production will require $2.5 billion in investment which Western Copper and Gold still needs to raise, the company president explained last October.

An advanced exploration program proposed by the company over the next five years received the green light from the assessment board last month, subject to a number of conditions.

Western Copper is proposing to provide its power requirements using liquefied natural gas to power 150 megawatts of generation.

The total hydro and diesel generating capacity at the Whitehorse Rapids Dam is 80 MW.

The company estimates 1,000 workers will be required during construction, with 600 on the payroll during production.

The summary provided to the assessment board indicates 69 per cent of its operational spending would occur in the Yukon.

In a news release issued today, the company points out once it receives a positive recommendation from YESAB, it would still need to secure a quartz mining licence from the government and a water licence from the Yukon Water Board.

CommentsAdd a comment

been downtown

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Looks like a very interesting project.  All Canadian, with one long time Yukoner in management (I went to their website).  I am glad to see a Canadian project of this scale and I hope that it can be done and is a huge success for the company, and the people of the Yukon.  Workers in particular who I hope will come from the Yukon, and then significant royalties for the mineral resources being extracted, and community engagement as in supporting further positive development in the Yukon.  I think that a project of this magnitude has to take on responsibilities to the jurisdiction it operates in.

Been uptown

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:34 pm

The devil is in the details


Jan 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

It will be interesting to see how Yukoners ultimately react to this project.  It is truly enormous in scale and will require the construction of a massive tailings dam, which will need to be maintained in perpetuity, with all the risks to the Yukon River and taxpayer that entails…

mary laker

Jan 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm

From Western Copper’s website:  “the initial 4 years of operation provide an accelerated cash flow resulting in a payback of 3 years” http://www.westerncopperandgold.com/_resources/factsheet-oct2013.pdf

If the cost to start production is 2.5 billion as stated in this article, and they get that back in three years, it seems they expect to have a profit of about 800 million dollars a year in the initial 4 years.  Maybe only half a billion a year after that, for 22 years.

They say that they will have 600 employees once the mine is built and operating.  At $100,0000 per year each on average that means $60 million a year in wages to hopefully mostly locals.

Corporate taxes of 15% means another $75 million in income for the federal government.  So, a total of $135 million a year may flow to workers and to Canada for extracting the resource.

What is the other side of the equation?  $365 million a year, or a million dollars a day, in net profits after tax to Western Copper and Gold.

I question whether Canada is making the returns we should on these kinds of deposits.  It’s like allowing someone to come into your family castle and take the jewels and give you 25% of what they are sold for.  Maybe that is okay, maybe it is not.  I think people should be aware of just how much money these corporations are making off of our natural resources, and what they leave on the table in terms of wages and taxes and royalties.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Steve O

Jan 8, 2014 at 12:25 am

Faro II ?


Jan 8, 2014 at 11:52 am

You make an interesting point.
Are we getting our moneys worth out of OUR resources?
Norway nationalized their oil industry and now sit as a very rich country.
I know Canada tried it.  Maybe The Yukon could have our own territorial mining company.  Smacks of socialism, I know, but why not keep the profits here?  Whats wrong with that?


Jan 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm

How long will the clean up take?
Jobs for the future!

Just Say'in

Jan 9, 2014 at 2:07 am

@mary laker. I take it from your comments Economics was not your major. First you mention the 15 percent Corporate Tax rate which is correct however remember that a corporation generates huge Payroll taxes. Figure on average 40 percent for such employees and that is approximately 25 million a year. Also CCP payments EI contributions WCB contributions. Keep in mind that every dollar that is generated in a value added industry, is “new money” not recycled government hand outs. New money in the economy gets spent on average 4 times before it all goes back to the government in the form of cumulative taxes every time it is earned and spent over and over. Also these employees buy homes, cars, eat in restaurants, buy clothes and on and on. The mine will buy fuel, tools, equipment, electricity. All of this will support many many good paying jobs in Whitehorse. Just the hauling of the ore itself will employ aprox. 100 Truck drivers and many Mechanics and support people. Think about it .

Rick Oscroft

Jan 9, 2014 at 4:47 am

Does the Yukon have the 2.5 billion and the expertise to develop a mine and milling operation of this size. I should think not. This looks like a good opportunity for the local area employment and with this project and infrastructure being added there is always the chance of more discoveries and new mines being added over time. You have to remember that whom ever develops this mine also takes on all the risks so a premium is required for profits. Just saying.

Think about it

Jan 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

“Western Copper is proposing to provide its power requirements using liquefied natural gas to power 150 megawatts of generation.”

Where is all this liquefied natural gas coming from?
Will they want to frack natural gas in the Yukon as a close, convenient source and at what cost to our environment?
Will they be shipping/trucking in this gas from elsewhere and again at what cost to our environment from potential spills?
In the bigger scheme of things there is a huge potential for water-table, lake, stream and land contamination.

Really think about it

Jan 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

After spending some time reading the description of the project on the YESAA Board website, the energy issues associated with the project are the least of my concerns.

This mine will require a dam to keep acid generating tailings under water in perpetuity.  At closure, the dam will be about 2.5km long and about 250 metres in height - that is staggering in size for a structure that will need to be maintained forever to prevent millions of tonnes of tailings from washing into the Yukon River.

Who will pay to maintain this dam in 40 or 100 years - all human built structures need maintenance, after the mine has shut and the company packed its bags and gone home? Is this risk and liability acceptable or are we better off with more manageable mines like the ones we have in operation now?

B. Foster

Jan 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Kinda sad but it seems mining up here is a necessary thing.

What I find interesting is if you go to the CBC news site and look up any recent stories regarding resource development in the Yukon or the new road to Tuk it seems that the commenting is closed.

Hang onto your hats…

north of 60

Jan 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Contrary to what is misrepresented as a new technique, the idea of hydraulic fracturing has existed since before late U. S. president John Kennedy was in office.

Fracking has been used in Canada since the 1960s. Since then, more than 175,000 wells have been fracked in British Columbia and Alberta “without a case of harm to drinking water,” according to regulating agencies in both provinces. That number constitutes more than a third of all wells in this country in the last half-century.

In New Brunswick there have been 49 fracking operations since the mid-1980s, all without a single report of water contamination. In the United States around 90 per cent of 493,000 active natural gas wells in the country, across 31 states, were fracked.

These numbers do not constitute the unknown record of a new, untested technique that those concerned about its safety would have us believe. Rather, they indicate that concerns about the safety of fracking for water tables, while valid, are grossly exaggerated.

At what point do we cease to concentrate on the negative and stop rejecting the positive experiences of other jurisdictions?



Jan 10, 2014 at 7:28 am

When you say “local area employment” I am assuming you mean Carmacks area residents?  If so, the reality is that the locals tend to get the very lowest paying positions.  Past projects like Ketza River, where local FNs were promised the world, but ended up with the labouring positions, prove the point.
Everyone is saying how great this will be for The Yukon.
Really?  Why?
We will need to grow to meet the needs of this mine and any other that may result of the road into this area. 
Will a larger population make my quality of life any better?  No, it won’t.  I’m selfish.  I love it here.  Been here all my life, and more people won’t make it better.  More people out hunting, more people in town, more traffic.  Yeah, that sounds great to me.  The Chamber of Commerce will love it, but what about us that just like a good quality of life?
The Yukon is the last great place to live, and Casino isn’t going to make it better IMHO.

Outside Whitehorse

Jan 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

“Western Copper is proposing to provide its power requirements using liquefied natural gas to power 150 megawatts of generation.”

Where is all this liquefied natural gas coming from? This demonstrates we have to double or triple our energy production if we want to supply this and other mines.

Gas could come from local sources without fracking. That is not that difficult. It just requires legislation and a government that does not act like a “concierge” for the mining and oil and gas industries.

We need energy, hydro electric, wind and solar, maybe some gas if it’s not from fracking. Nuclear energy is almost as clean as it gets. I prefer hydro- Fraser Falls- let’s get on with it.

Rick Oscroft

Jan 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm


I see your point. With the time frame to mine build maybe the Gov. could provide some type of related training to the F.N. and other locals. I know what it’s all about I left B.C. and went to Elliot Lake as a miner in the 70’s because I had taken a mining school course in B.C. on my own accord so I was in demand. At that time they needed experienced people which is quite acceptable for the company to need but this project should require a lot of Heavy Equipment drivers, mechanics electricians, pipe fitters etc., and hopefully they have some in-house training as they did in Elliot Lake.
I know what you mean by lots of extra people hunting and fishing as it was crowded at times in the local hot spot. Now that the mines have closed you would not know that they were there except for the tailing dams which are looked after by Denison Mines to ensure they do not fail.  Denison Environmental which is paid for by the mines that closed. Town really benefited from the mines during the time I was there 14 years. Hope all goes well and everyone prospers if this mine is permitted.

north of 60

Jan 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm

The choice is clear.  Either build more hydro and invest in the future or let the mining operations provide their own heat and power with LNG or diesel.  Hydro, oil & gas; or nuclear are the only relatively clean sources of energy which can realistically power Yukon mines.

We should ban any coal power in the Yukon. That’s what the anti’s should be focused on.

Solar works great in the summer for small scale applications, however wind is a washout.  Wind turbines all over the world only produce about 20% of their installed capacity, and often fail prematurely.  Who buys a car that claims 50 MPG, when it only gets 10MPG in the real world, and only runs for a few years?

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