Yukon’s only active hard rock mine, Minto, is slated to be sold to U.K based Pembridge Rescources. (Capstone Mining/Submitted)

Capstone prepares to sell Yukon’s Minto mine

‘We’re not buying this thing to close it down’

Yukon’s only active hard rock mine is slated to be sold.

Capstone Mining is preparing to sell its Minto mine to Pembridge Resources, a company based in the U.K.

The deal, worth US$37.5 million and 9.9 per cent of Pembridge’s shares, is expected to be finalized in April.

“We have plans for the mine. We think that we’ll be able to significantly extend the mine life,” said Pembridge CEO David Linsley.

“I know there’s been a lot of feelings up there for the past few years that it’s close to closing down. Well, we’re not buying this thing to close it down.”

Under Capstone, Minto was expected to close around 2021.

Linsley won’t go into detail about how he intends to extend that mine life or how long he thinks the mine could be operational.

In a statement the company said no exploration activities have been undertaken on the Minto property since 2012. A number of prospective exploration targets have been identified and will require drilling, it said.

“You don’t drill the whole deposit out, because that’s too expensive. You’re constantly drilling ahead of yourself,” Linsley said.

Linsley said he believes there are also ways to make Minto more efficient.

“That’s no criticism of Capstone, it’s just the way we’re going to do things. We’re going to be clearly very focused on costs. I think we can get costs down,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be buying it if I thought costs were going up. That’s work that we’re working on at the moment. We’ve done our due diligence, we can see the opportunity, but that has to be refined in the coming months.”

But being more efficient won’t mean job losses, he said.

“If you just cut the workforce, then who’s going to mine the mine? It’s not that simple…. You need the people there in order for it to succeed.”

Capstone’s senior vice-president Gregg Bush said that selling the mine will allow Capstone to focus on other assets.

“We believe there’s potential with Minto, as do the people with Pembridge, but we made the decision to focus our energy and our capital on core assets.”

Currently the mine produces approximately 50,000 tonnes annually of highly quality copper concentrate containing 18,000 tonnes of copper, with gold and silver as by-products, according to Pembridge.

Minto will be Pembridge’s only mine.

The company is made up of people with extensive experience in mining, Linsley said. Members of the board are familiar with Minto, including one board member who used to work for Capstone, he said.

Linsley said Pembridge approached Capstone about selling because it saw a “significant upside.”

“We think that … this mine could run for many many years to come,” he said.

Having a new owner for Minto is exciting, said Samson Hartland, the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

“If an investor is coming in at this stage of a project they’re going to look to create value out of it, they’re going to look to extend the life of the mine,” he said.

Hartland said getting more use out of Minto will mean more jobs for contractors and the surrounding communities.

“When they’ve put the project on hold a couple of times over the years, we all hurt, we all suffer as a result,” he said.

“When we hear stories on the other end talking about extending the life of the mine, and talking about continuing operations … that’s positive for everyone involved.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

WCC did not have authority to create secure living unit, judge finds

Justice Ron Veale’s decision on petition from former WCC inmate Darryl Sheepway was released Sept. 19

Bagnell concedes Trudeau’s past decisions to wear brown and blackface were racist

‘When we do things, we might not think at first blush that it’s going to offend someone’

UPDATED: B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in 2017 Ibex Valley homicide

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Updated: The Ibex Valley murder trial: what the jury didn’t hear

Some legal arguments were made without the jury present. Those details couldn’t be published until now

Commentary: How Yukon’s federal election candidates would tackle the opioid crisis

Esther Armstrong The overdose crisis continues to have a devastating impact on… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Election 2019: Almost as fun as a hockey pool

The federal election has officially kicked off, and just in time. The… Continue reading

Yukon skateboarders compete at Skate Comp 2019

The event featured nearly two dozen skaters from across the territory and beyond

VeloNorth hosts annual YXY Cross cyclocross race

The race included 92 riders — nearly triple last year’s turnout

Court news, briefly

Some recent news coming out of Yukon courts

City council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made by Whitehorse city council Sept. 9

Runners test their mettle at 37th annual Klondike Road Relay

This year’s relay included 197 teams and 1,877 runners

Yukonomist: How the Yukon saved the economy

During the Klondike gold rush, the prospect of free gold drew more… Continue reading

Most Read