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By Brad Cathers
Special to Mining News 

Mining Explorers 2012: Local resources, global reach

Underexplored Yukon ranks among world's top 10 mining jurisdictions


Last updated 11/11/2012 at Noon

Mining continues to be a cornerstone of Yukon's economy, with extraordinary mineral deposits, including both precious and non-precious metals.

The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an internationally competitive investment climate. To this end, we continue to provide regulatory certainty around environmental assessment, permitting and licensing of projects.

Yukon's exploration and mining industries are settling in for the long term. After a record-breaking year for claim staking and exploration spending in 2011, we are seeing companies work hard to further explore and develop their properties this year within the constraints of a challenging global economy.

Mineral exploration remains strong in Yukon, despite this downturn in global financial markets. Several companies with promising exploration results are continuing to invest significantly in their properties. This indicates that Yukon's mineral industry is weathering the storm and is proving to be sustainable for the long term. This is due in no small part to Yukon's proven mineral wealth and the confidence industry has shown by their investments in the territory.

Exploration highlights

In 2012, companies are evaluating and consolidating their exploration properties that were staked during 2011 and earlier years. The primary commodity of interest for exploration remains gold. Many companies used extensive drilling to evaluate advanced targets while continuing with soil sampling, trenching, prospecting and geologic mapping in less advanced areas of their properties.

The White Gold area and the Selwyn basin saw continued work on the extensive exploration holdings.

Kaminak Gold Resources has an extensive drill program to connect their previously discovered mineralized showings.

Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. and Kinross Gold Resources are evaluating extensions of previously discovered mineralization.

Ethos Capital Corp. is evaluating soil anomalies in the White Gold area.

Tarsis and Klondike Gold Corp are also evaluating previously defined targets.

Ryan Gold is drilling on its Flume and Ida Oro properties while refining drill targets on several other properties in Yukon.

Golden Predator continues to upgrade resources at Brewery Creek.

Victoria Gold also is upgrading resources on their Eagle Gold property.

ATAC Resources is extending its exploration success on the Nadaleen gold trend along the northern margin of Selwyn basin. Excellent drill intersections support use of the Carlin style gold mineralization occurring along the Nadaleen trend. Strategic Metals, Ryan Gold, Colorado Resources and Anthill are also evaluating targets along trend with ATAC's ground.

In eastern Yukon, Northern Tiger Resources continues exploration drilling on their 3Ace property. Aben Resources continues drilling on the Justin property.

Although gold is in the limelight, 2012 also saw exploration spending for other commodities. Prophecy Platinum drilled to refine platinum, nickel and copper mineralization on the Wellgreen property. Silver Range Resources continued drilling north of Faro on a series of lead, zinc and silver occurrences.

Mining and development

Yukon has three operating mines: Capstone Resources Minto copper-gold mine, Alexco Resources' Bellekeno silver mine, and Yukon Zinc's polymetallic Wolverine mine. The Minto mine has been in continuous production since 2007. Minto completed pre-stripping of the area 2 open pit, and commenced production from the new pit in the summer of 2012. Plans are underway for a combination of open pit and underground production in the future. Exploration drilling is ongoing to replace mined reserves.

Alexco Resource Corp. has two mines in development to augment production from the Bellekeno mine; production from these other mines is targeted to commence by the end of 2012. Yukon Zinc's Wolverine mine is currently focused on ramping up to sustained full production.

Drilling by Victoria Gold on the Eagle deposit and Golden Predator on the Brewery Creek property is providing for increased resource information on previously identified mineralization. Victoria Gold continues to advance in the permitting process with the Yukon government, looking forward to development on site in 2013.

The future looks bright for mine development, as many exploration projects continue to make exciting discoveries year after year.

On the world stage

Yukon will continue to be one of the fastest growing and best jurisdictions to do business in when it comes to mineral development because of our legislation that is designed to protect investments; our well-defined steps to mining development; and our stable political environment.

In 2012, Yukon ranked in the top 10 worldwide as a mining friendly jurisdiction. Mining companies invest here because they know they are working with a modern and progressive jurisdiction with authority over their resources.

The potential in Yukon remains enormous. Yukon still remains underexplored and our existing infrastructure and regulatory regime provides great opportunities for companies to do business here. We will continue to be successful for the long-term.


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