John McConnell, president, director and CEO of Victoria Gold Corp, talks at the 2017 Yukon Geoscience Forum and Trade Show in Whitehorse. Victoria Gold says amendments to its water license ordered by the Yukon’s water board won’t impact the construction schedule of the Eagle mine 85 km from Mayo. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Victoria Gold confident amended water licence won’t slow progress at Yukon’s Eagle mine

Changes to the mine plan means Yukon’s water board wants the company to apply for an amended licence

Victoria Gold says amendments to its water license ordered by the Yukon’s water board won’t impact the construction schedule of the Eagle mine 85 km from Mayo.

Earlier this month, following a mandated review of some of the mine’s plans, the water board told the company it needed to amend its water license to account for changes it made to the design.

Board chair Piers McDonald said the plans were not approved by the board “not because they were technically unsound but because they referenced a mine plan that had evolved and changed from that that was originally licensed.”

The changes are improvements, said Victoria Gold’s president John McConnell. They include a decision to no longer divert a creek and to move the embankment for the heap leach pad out of Dublin gulch, he said May 24.

The changes came out of recommendations from the Nacho Nyak Dun (NND) First Nation and its land manager, McConnell said.

He said resubmitting an updated plan to ask for an amended licence is relatively simple. The technical work has already been done.

“It’s re-submitting it with a different cover page or cover letter,” he said.

McConnell said the members of the water board have completely changed since the mine completed its public hearings three years ago.

He said the plan is to write a draft, sit down with the water board secretariat, “and make sure that everybody’s happy with what we’ve got there and consult with our partners the NND.”

The mine’s current water licence is still active. There’s no timeline for when an amended licence could be approved. That can vary depending on how complicated projects are, McDonald said.

He said that the features that are under review couldn’t be constructed until they are approved.

McConnell said the company could wait for a decision “until we go into operations.”

“The embankment doesn’t hold any water until we start operations,” he said. “So that’s when we would be in contravention”

The mine’s completion and first gold pour is scheduled for the second half of 2019. Construction started earlier this year. The existing camp has 250 people.

Lewis Rifkind, with the Yukon Conservation Society, said it does appear what Victoria Gold is proposing could be an improvement.

He said it’s still important for the water board to take a look because the board has the required expertise.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

miningYukon Water Board

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

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read