Selwyn downplays dead deal

Selwyn Resources has hit a bump with its plans to build its mine near the Northwest Territories border. In June, the company bought Nova Scotia's ScoZinc mine, which operated from 2007 until 2009 when it shuttered during the global financial collapse.

Selwyn Resources has hit a bump with its plans to build its mine near the Northwest Territories border.

In June, the company bought Nova Scotia’s ScoZinc mine, which operated from 2007 until 2009 when it shuttered during the global financial collapse.

Reopening the mine, it’s hoped, will provide a stream of cash to help finance the development of its Selwyn property at Howard’s Pass.

Selwyn hopes to see ScoZinc re-open by the summer of 2012. To this end, the company planned to raise $30 million through a bond offer.

But that deal fell apart last week.

The company’s now looking for new ways to pay for ScoZinc’s reopening.

If Selwyn were short on cash for its short-term operations, this could be a concern. But that’s not the case, said Harlan Meade, the company’s president and CEO.

The deal’s demise will have “no effect whatsoever” on Selwyn’s operations, he said.

It helps that Selwyn has a partner with deep pockets. Last year, a Chinese state-owned company paid $100 million for an equal stake in the Selwyn project, which is touted as one of the largest unexploited deposits of lead and zinc on the planet.

Selwyn has spent more than $70 million to date to prove-up the property. Advanced exploration started this summer, with the company digging two kilometres of underground passages.

Last month, the company announced it had expanded the property’s global indicated resources by 17 per cent, adding 2.1 billion pounds of zinc and 1 billion pounds of lead.

And there are more announcements to come over the next few weeks, said Meade.

Plans to build the mine remain on track, said Meade.

“We’ve almost accomplished all of our initial goals,” he said.

If Selwyn has its way, a big underground mine will open there by mid-2014.

The mine could employ up to 400 people and churn out 8,000 tonnes of concentrate per day.

Selwyn has abandoned a plan to pump ore through a 180-kilometre slurry pipeline to the Robert Campbell Highway. “It’s new technology, and we thought we’d be better off pursuing the proven and true method of truck hauling,” said Meade.

The company hasn’t settled on which port it would use to ship concentrate to Asia. The preferred choice is Skagway.

The municipality wants to upgrade its ore terminal, and Selwyn is seen as one of the new facility’s likely customers.

But for this to happen, the municipality needs to cut a new deal with White Pass and Yukon Rail, which currently holds a lease that allows it to control Skagway’s ore dock.

Municipal and company officials have haggled over the terms of a new deal for the past year, according to the Skagway News. These talks were interrupted this month by municipal elections.

“Until those issues are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, that’s a potential impediment, because it creates uncertainty,” said Meade.

“A lot of people in Alaska would like to see the Skagway facility better used. And that would strengthen the infrastructure for the Yukon, which, of course, we have a long-term interest in seeing happen.”

Selwyn’s other option is to haul ore to Stewart, BC.

Meade couldn’t say when his company needs to decide on which port to use.

“But it’s somewhere out there in the foreseeable future.”

Contact John Thompson at

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

Just Posted

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

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

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. (
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.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read