Deal reached for Casino mine road bypass
North of 60 Mining News – April 12, 2019
Last updated 9/25/2020 at 2:40pm
Western Copper and Gold Corp. April 8 reported that the Yukon government and Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation have reached an agreement for the proposed Carmacks bypass, the first section of a road to the Casino copper project.
"The Carmacks bypass will be a road from south of Carmacks to the existing Freegold Road north of Carmacks so that mine haul trucks will be able to bypass the community," said Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai.
The Carmacks bypass and other work on the road to Casino is to be funded under the Yukon Resource Gateway project, a C$247.8 million federal program that will upgrade more than 650 kilometers of roads in the Yukon.
Following the development of project agreements with First Nations in regions of the proposed road upgrades, as well as the precursor environmental and socio-economic reviews, Yukon will contribute up to C$112.8 million to the road projects.
The Casino road agreement addresses one of the primary concerns of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation.
"The bypass project will help ensure the safety of Carmacks residents by redirecting industrial traffic away from the community," said Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Chief Russell Blackjack.
The agreement, the first reached under the Yukon Resource Gateway Project, provides the First Nation an opportunity to access potential contracting, education and training benefits associated with the road project.
The Resource Gateway Project provides funding to upgrade 82 kilometers (51 miles) of the existing Freegold Road and about 30 percent of the funding needed to establish another 126 kilometers (78 miles) of new road along what is known as the Casino Trail.
This would provide road access to Western Copper and Gold's Casino project, which hosts 4.5 billion pounds of copper and 8.9 million oz of gold in 1.1 billion metric tons of proven and probable reserves.
"This agreement is an important step forward in the development of the Casino project, and I look forward to seeing construction begin on the access road," said Western Copper and Gold President and CEO Paul West-Sells. "I am also pleased to see that the agreement enables the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation to access potential contracting, education and training benefits associated with the project."
Once in production, Casino is expected to employ some 600 workers.
According to a 2013 report, the mine would contribute C$9.6 billion to the Canadian economy and pay C$3.2 billion in taxes and royalties to federal, territorial, and First Nation governments over its initial 22-year mine-life.
The Casino project is currently in permitting.
On its way to Western Copper's mine project, the Casino Trail passes by a number of other copper and gold projects, including Triumph Gold Corp.'s Freegold Mountain and Taku Gold Corp.'s Sonora Gulch.
"Construction of the bypass aligns with Triumph's mission of conducting low-cost exploration on our road accessible Freegold Mountain property while also respecting and minimizing impacts on citizens of Carmacks and the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation," Triumph Gold penned in a statement.