Tagish Lake Gold zips lips

For a company that wanted to set the record straight last week, Tagish Lake Gold Corporation has become awfully squirrelly about questions raised by an investigation underway by the Yukon Workers' Compensation, Health and Safety Board.

For a company that wanted to set the record straight last week, Tagish Lake Gold Corporation has become awfully squirrelly about questions raised by an investigation underway by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board.

Peter Torn, a lawyer with the company, won’t say whether the company recently received a stop-work order following a mine inspection.

Instead, he offered several confusing, contradictory evasions and eventually hung up the phone.

First, Torn claimed the company was unable to say whether part of its operations had been shuttered. That, he soon afterwards admitted, is false.

An investigation prevents the safety board from speaking to the matter, he noted. But that doesn’t stop the company from clearing the air, if it chose to do so.

“We choose not to,” said Torn, when pressed.

Asked again, Torn offered a new explanation. Incredibly, he claimed the company did not know if it had received a stop-work order.

“We don’t know anything about it,” he said.

Then he decided to end the interview. “There’s a current investigation and we’re not commenting on it. This ends the conversation,” Torn said, shortly before hanging up.

But not before he issued a warning. Torn didn’t appreciate being pushed to provide an answer, it seems.

“I’ll be forwarding my concerns to our lawyers concerning your behaviour,” he said.

Last week, CBC Radio reported Tagish Lake Gold’s operations had been shuttered following a visit by mine inspectors.

That’s untrue, Torn later told reporters. Exploratory surface drilling continues at the site, he said, prompting a clarification to be issued by the public broadcaster.

But Torn never spoke to work being conducted underground by the Vancouver-based mining junior at their property, 80 kilometres south of Whitehorse along the Wheaton River Valley.

According to a company news release, Tagish Lake Gold planned to drill underground this summer at its Mount Skukum and Goddell mines, which are both located on the property.

Asked whether underground work had been shut down, Torn wouldn’t say.

That’s strange, because he recently told the Whitehorse Star that they had suspended underground drilling. He didn’t tell them why.

Safety concerns are just one problem dogging the project.

Regulators have scolded its parent company, New Pacific Metals Corporation, for playing fast-and-loose with a technical report that describes the Tagish Lake project.

In July, the British Columbia Securities Commission chastised New Pacific Metals for issuing a technical report on the Tagish Lake project that ran afoul of national rules governing disclosures made by publicly listed mining companies.

New Pacific withdrew the report shortly afterwards and vowed to submit an improved report by mid-August. But it has yet to do so.

And there’s more. Rui Feng is the CEO and president of Tagish Lake Gold and New Pacific Metals. He’s also the boss of Silvercorp, a China-focused silver producer that’s become embroiled in a big controversy, following allegations that it has massively exaggerated its profits.

Feng has dismissed these allegations as “baseless,” but that hasn’t stopped Silvercorp’s stock from plunging, as investors brace themselves for what some fear may be a repeat of the Sino-Forest scandal.

Short sellers now smell blood and hope to profit from the company’s plummeting price.

All this may come to hurt the Tagish Lake project, because Silvercorp is the majority shareholder of Pacific Metals.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

Just Posted

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

City of Whitehorse budgets $30M for infrastructure over four years

‘I think we’re concentrating on the most important things’

Yukon community liaison for MMIWG inquiry fired

Melissa Carlick, the Whitehorse-based community liaison officer for the national Missing and… Continue reading

Yukon man holds no grudge after being attacked by bison

‘The poor guy was only trying to fend off someone who he knew was trying to kill him’

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukon government releases survey on the territory’s liquor laws

Changes could include allowing sale of booze in grocery stores

Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

Bill C-17 passes third reading in House of Commons

The bill, which will repeal controversial amendments made to YESAA by Bill S-6, will now go to Senate

White Pass and Yukon Route musical chugs on without director

The cast and crew of Stonecliff are pushing forward without Conrad Boyce, who went on medical leave

Most Read