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Eagle Mine heap leach pad collapses

North of 60 Mining News – June 24, 2024

DAWSON CITY, YUKON (June 24, 2024) – Victoria Gold Corp. has reported a collapse of the heap leach pad at its Eagle Mine north of Mayo, Yukon.

Photos posted by Yukon News around noon local time shows a partial collapse of the heap leach pad, which is constructed on a hillside to hold mine ore so that the gold can be dissolved with a cyanide solution for recovery.

Victoria Gold President and CEO John McConnell, who was in attendance at the Yukon Mining Investment Conference in Dawson City, abruptly left the gathering at 9:30 a.m. The Eagle Mine is 310 kilometers (193 miles) by road or roughly a 167-kilometer (104 miles) flight east from Dawson City.

At around 2:00, Victoria confirmed that the heap leach pad had failed and there has been some damage to infrastructure. The company also reported that "a portion of the failure has left containment," indicating a potential environmental component.

While details are scarce, Victoria and a Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources spokesperson both reported that no workers were injured due to the collapse and mine operations have stopped.

The Eagle mine, which employs roughly 500 people, produced 166,730 ounces of gold during 2023.

Yukon government and First Nations representatives are investigating and responding to the incident.

A. J. Roan

Photo of the collapsed heap leach pad at Eagle taken during a June 25 flyover of the gold mine operation.

EAGLE MINE UPDATE – June 26, 2024 9:15 AM

Victoria Gold and government officials have yet to provide any further details on the extent of the structural or environmental impacts resulting from the collapse of the heap leach pad at Eagle Mine.

A June 25 flyover of the site shows a large portion of the pad slid down the hillside, depositing ore into the valley below. The processing plant that recovers gold from the leaching fluids circulated through the ore stacked on the pad appears to be unharmed but roads and other infrastructure supporting the mining operation have been covered by the materials that slid down the mountain.

With the heap leach pad collapse shutting down gold recovery operations at Eagle indefinitely, BMO Capital downgraded Victoria Gold stock and withdrew its previous price target of C$15.00 per share.

Victoria Gold shares were trading at around C$7.48 per share prior to the incident. Trading was halted before the news of the incident was widespread, but the Victoria Gold share price plummeted 86% to C$1.03 per share upon the resumption of trading at market open on June 25.

As of 1:15 pm EST on June 26, Victoria Gold shares were trading at C$1.28 per share.

EAGLE MINE UPDATE – June 26, 2024 3:20 PM

Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker provided an update on the government response and current situation at Victoria Gold’s Eagle Mine.

“It’s too early to speak to the cause of the heap leach failure. What’s clear at this point is that the failure involved a slide of the ore stacked in the heap leach facility,” he said. “The slide caused ore to spill over the embankment at the base of the heap facility. The slide appears to have damaged some mine infrastructure.”

Victoria quickly began building dams to contain contaminated water, which is being pumped into storage ponds.

“Natural resource officers are monitoring water on site, and the Department of Environment continues to operate long-term water quality monitoring stations upstream and downstream of the mine,” Streicker said.

The Yukon resource department says that based on current information, the drinking water wells for the village of Mayo, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Eagle, are not impacted by the incident at the mine.

“Although we believe any potential risk is extremely low, out of an abundance of caution, Environmental Health Services will support the Village of Mayo in ongoing coordination of drinking water analyses to monitor for contaminants of concern until more is understood about the details of the event,” Streicker said.

The Yukon government says it has been communicating directly with the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Village of Mayo, Victoria Gold, and other stakeholders about the evolving situation.

“We recognize that many Yukoners are concerned about the potential environmental impacts of this failure. We are committed to working closely with the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun as we determine next steps,” Streicker said. “As a mining regulator, we remain committed to ensuring that the environment is protected, and that will guide our future actions at the site.”

The Yukon resources department plans to provide a technical briefing and update on the Eagle Gold mine heap leach collapse by the end of the week.

See Yukon addresses Eagle heap leach collapse for North of 60 Mining News' coverage of a June 28 Yukon government technical briefing and update on the Eagle Mine heap leach pad collapse.

CORRECTION: This article was updated to correctly state that the Eagle Gold mine is located east of Dawson City.


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