Agnico Eagle invests in White Gold mining district

Another major mining company has invested in Yukon’s White Gold district near Dawson City.

Another major mining company has invested in Yukon’s White Gold district near Dawson City.

International gold producer Agnico Eagle Mines has purchased nearly 20 per cent of the shares of G4G Capital Corp., soon to be renamed White Gold Corp., for $14.5 million.

The Vancouver-based company has an option to acquire 12,300 claims across 21 properties in the Yukon from famed Yukon prospector Shawn Ryan, totalling about 30 per cent of the entire White Gold district.

The investment will help fund a three-year, $15-million exploration program to be conducted by Dawson-based GroundTruth Exploration.

“It brings a lot of credibility to the Yukon as a whole,” said Ryan, who will remain a technical advisor for White Gold Corp.

Agnico Eagle has properties in Finland, Mexico, the United States and Canada, including the Meadowbank mine in Nunavut.

Dale Coffin, the company’s corporate director of communications, said Agnico Eagle tends to invest in the early stages of development of a project.

He said this opportunity was appealing because of the major deposits that have already been found in the White Gold district — notably the Golden Saddle deposit, purchased by Kinross in 2010, and the Coffee deposit, acquired by mining giant Goldcorp this year.

“The best place to find a new deposit is next to an existing deposit,” Coffin said.

“The individuals involved are very experienced at finding deposits in that region and have a track record that few people can certainly point to and say they have similar track records.”

Ryan, who uncovered the White Gold district in 2009 and launched the largest staking spree the Yukon had seen since the Gold Rush, said the odds are good that there’s at least one more major deposit in these claims, and maybe two or three.

He said many of the claims had some preliminary exploration work done in 2011, so he knows which areas to target.

“Statistically, there’s never been a better probability of success than there is going forward in the next three years,” he said.

Ryan said he chose to option all the claims to a single company instead of breaking them up and selling to several different junior miners, knowing that many of them would come up empty.

“What I’m doing is kind of like going to the (Diamond Tooth) Gerties Hall and putting all my chips on the one spot,” he said. “We’re putting everything on red.”

Another reason for keeping all the claims in a single package, he said, is that GroundTruth Exploration’s technology can explore targets much more quickly than was previously possible.

GroundTruth specializes in low-impact exploration technology, including the use of rotary air blast drills that are smaller and more maneuverable than traditional diamond drills.

Ryan said GroundTruth’s three-year exploration plan includes 200 holes each season, when a standard junior miner might drill four or five with a diamond drill in a year.

Isaac Fage, president and co-founder of GroundTruth Exploration, said his company can drill for a third of the cost of diamond drilling. He’s also focused on developing on-site analysis of drilling cores.

“What we really take pride in is the idea of collecting real-time data and understanding what we’re doing,” he said.

GroundTruth has recently started using a camera with a fish-eye lens that gives an image of the inside of a drill hole. Fage said that image, paired with geochemical data collected on-site, allows the company to “react on a daily basis,” where other companies would have to wait weeks to get results back from a lab.

“What we’re hoping to change is really the public’s perception of how exploration could and should be taking place,” he said.

Ryan said GroundTruth’s methods allow it to explore an area almost too quickly for a junior miner to manage.

“What used to take us two field seasons and $500,000 is now taking us about a month for about $100,000,” he said.

GroundTruth’s three-year exploration program will begin in 2017. Fage said Agnico Eagle’s investment is good news for the Yukon’s mining industry.

“The biggest takeaway from this is that we’re really just scratching the surface and that the Yukon’s hugely underexplored.”

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read