Golden Predator gobbles up territory’s top geologist

The Yukon government's long-serving chief geologist has been scooped up by the private sector. After 20 years of service with the Yukon Geological Survey, Mike Burke will depart at the end of the month to start work with Golden Predator.

The Yukon government’s long-serving chief geologist has been scooped up by the private sector.

After 20 years of service with the Yukon Geological Survey, Mike Burke will depart at the end of the month to start work with Golden Predator, a Vancouver-based mining junior, to serve as chief geologist at its Whitehorse office.

He ought to prove valuable to the company: Burke, 49, is a familiar face to all the big players in Yukon’s mining industry.

He knows an awful lot about the territory’s rocks – he’s visited many of the territory’s exploration projects, and he helped oversee the territory’s geological database.

Burke also presumably knows how to extract money from the government, as one of the people who helped run the Yukon Mining Incentive Program.

“I always knew I’d return to the private sector,” said Burke. “I’d rather be part of the discovery team, rather than congratulating the discovery team.

“There’s just nothing like that thrill.”

Burke began his geology career as a student in the early 1980s by poking around the Yukon for gold and tungsten with Canamax Resources. After graduating, he worked for the company’s Ketza River mine, south of Ross River.

That mine has since closed, but the surrounding property continues to be explored by the Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp.

Burke also helped discover the Sa Dena Hes lead and zinc deposit, about 40 kilometres north of Watson Lake.

He joined the government in 1990, where he served as top geologist since 1994.

Over the past five years, Burke has had an ideal perch to watch the Yukon’s current mining boom unfold. Now it’s time to get back in the game.

A mining success story requires two key ingredients, said Burke: competent management and exploration properties with potential. He sees both ingredients with Golden Predator, making his jump a “relatively easy decision.”

Burke knew he wanted to stay put in Whitehorse, and Golden Predator is “not going anywhere,” he said. “They’ve got a long-term commitment to the Yukon.”

Golden Predator has dug its claws in 11 Yukon properties. Much of this land is staked near ATAC Resources’ Rau property, northeast of Keno City.

The Rau find has sparked much excitement because of similarities between the geology found there and that of Nevada, home to many productive gold mines. Burke calls the discovery of a Nevada-style deposit the long-sought “holy grail” of Yukon exploration outfits.

But, for now, Golden Predators’ priorities are to firm up promising drill results at two other properties, with a accelerated drilling program set to resume next month.

One is at Brewery Creek, the site of an open-pit gold mine near Dawson City that operated from 1997 until 2001. The other is at Grew Creek, west of Ross River.

The company plans to drill two kilometres of ore samples this year at Brewery Creek, starting next month, with a focus on the company’s Bohemian Zone, where gold-rich intercepts were discovered last autumn. At Grew Creek, the company plans to drill 15 holes at its Carlos Zone.

Will Burke’s insider’s knowledge give his new employer a competitive edge?

“Well, I hope so,” he said with a chuckle.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.

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

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read