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Leckie Awards honor fuel cleanup efforts

Placer miners, junior go extra 'kilometer' to reclaim old sites; others recognize miners for prospecting and community assistance

The Government of Yukon has bestowed the prestigious Robert E. Leckie awards for 2013 on two small mining operations in honor of their exceptional mining practices, especially in a year when they were plagued by scarce capital and tough financing conditions.

Placer miners Ben Warnsby and Alex Seely, owners of recently acquired claims in the Dawson mining district of central Yukon, and Ryan Coe and Jeff Bridge of Regent Ventures Ltd. accepted the honors Nov. 18 at the 41st Annual Geoscience Forum banquet in Whitehorse.

"The Leckie Awards honor Yukon mining and exploration companies who have demonstrated exceptional environmental stewardship and innovative mining practices," said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent, in presenting the awards. "It is important for the Yukon government to recognize and show appreciation for this critical aspect of the industry."

Warnsby and Seely won the award for outstanding and responsible practices in placer mining, while Regent Ventures Ltd. claimed the honors for outstanding and responsible practices in quartz mining.

"The award recipients demonstrated commitment to reclamation, particularly to old sites from other users," Kent added. "This benefits the environment and also sets an example of responsibility and respect."

Significant fuel cleanups

In 2011, Warnsby and Seely acquired a number of placer claims on Bedrock Creek in the Dawson mining district.

There were several unresolved environmental issues from earlier mining practices on those claims, including some 10,000 liters of fuel contained in 45-gallon drums scattered all over the area.

The abandoned drums were on the verge of becoming compromised, which posed a significant risk to the environment.

"Mr. Warnsby and Mr. Seely acted immediately to remove the fuel," Kent said.

"Their effort resulted in over 30 trips to Dawson from the site.

Mr. Warnsby and Mr. Seely's willingness to remove approximately 160 45-gallon fuel drums and drain two large fuel tanks from their claims has demonstrated exemplary environmental stewardship"

Junior mining company Regent Ventures operates on the Red Mountain property east of Dawson City. In undertaking a small drill program in 2010, Regent Ventures hired a crew that was very environmentally conscious.

The company also reclaimed several historically disturbed sites along the access route to the property. Regent Ventures removed an old placer camp, which included structures, garbage and fuel drums, and reclaimed the area. At a nearby airstrip they removed garbage and empty fuel drums from multiple users. Regent Ventures also discovered and plugged an artesian drill hole with the use of its own equipment on site.

This dedication to reclaiming old sites, especially ones that were caused by other users, is not only a benefit to the environment, but sets a wonderful example of responsibility and respect by those engaged in modern mining practices," Kent said.

Each year, the Yukon government awards the best in the field with a Robert E. Leckie Award for outstanding environmental stewardship in mining and exploration. The awards were created as a tribute to Robert Leckie who worked as a mining inspector in Mayo from 1987 until 1999.

Leckie showed incredible dedication to environmental stewardship and innovative mining practices. He educated area miners on the benefits of thoughtful environmental practices and was a leader in developing positive relationships between government and industry. Leckie also was instrumental in conducting research into environmental placer mining practices and assisted industry to conduct their operations to a high standard.

A selection committee composed of representatives from both industry and the Yukon government chooses the honorees.

Other mining honors

In addition to the Leckie awards, the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the Yukon Prospectors' Association Nov. 18 also recognized leaders in their respective fields.

The Chamber of Mines gives a community award each year for an exceptional contribution made by an individual, organization or government for the advancement of a substantial and responsible mining industry in the territory.

This year, Victoria Gold Corp. was honored with the "Community Award" for its contribution to education through the company's "Every Student, Every Day" program. As members know, this program raises funds for which individual schools, Yukon First Nations and communities can apply to develop and undertake innovative, grassroots solutions that support student success and student attendance. The company has raised more C$100,000 in a little over 12 months of operation to assist with these initiatives that are application-driven from individual schools and communities.

The Chamber also bestows an annual award on one of its members who undertakes work in Yukon within the past year that is contributing toward developing healthier communities, protecting the natural environment and helping to develop a vibrant local economy.

This year, Tarsis Resources, won the "Member Award" for its efforts in establishing good-neighbor practices, engaging in sincere and early consultation with First Nations, applying industry-best environmental practices and going above and beyond legislated requirements in their community engagement and First Nation consultations.

The Yukon Prospectors' Association also presented two awards to recipients.

The first recognition is the 2013 Prospector of the Year Award, which was presented to Ron Stack.

The Association presents this honor to a deserving individual for outstanding achievement in the field of prospecting.

Stack was honored for his many years of dedication and contributions to the mineral exploration industry in Yukon.

The Prospectors also paid tribute to the late Jim McFaull, who was inducted into the Association's Hall of Fame. The Prospectors' Hall of Fame acknowledges prospectors who struggled against seemingly impossible odds, suffered undue hardship and incurred incredible risk in their search for minerals in the Yukon.

McFaull died suddenly on April 4, 2012, but his contributions to the territory's mineral industry and to Yukon, as a whole, will always remain.


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