Minto Metals Corp. owes the Yukon government $18 million in outstanding financial security for Minto mine, according to the territorial department of Energy, Mines and Resources.
On May 12, the company informed the government it intended to stop all mining operations and remove all staff and subcontractors from the mine site. Then the company abandoned the site. The company has no remaining directors after its entire board resigned. The territorial government quickly jumped into caretaker mode by contracting JDS Mining to continue with water treatment and management of water stored on site.
In a May 18 email, John Thompson, who works in communications for the department, said major mines must pay the government financial security to cover the cost to reclaim and close the mine site.
Thompson said the total financial security requirement set by the government for reclamation and closure of the Minto mine is $93.2 million.
The company has paid $75.2 million.
The Yukon government has sent a letter to the company advising it that the mine has been declared to be in a “state of permanent closure”, which means no production or development activities can occur without written approval and triggers the need for the company to carry out the relevant portions of the closure plan for the mine, Thompson explained.
But, since the company has abandoned the mine, the Yukon government is taking steps to stabilize the site to protect the environment, Thompson said.
Energy, Mines and Resources Minister John Streicker has indicated the government is looking for a company to take over the mine.
Streicker told the News the amount that has been paid in securities will “easily” cover interim work on care and maintenance.
“We are not using taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.
“We’re using money which was collected from the mine to ensure that the site can be protected.”
A May 13 bulletin from Minto Metals Corp. to workers was provided to the News.
The bulletin notifies workers that they will be out of a job and no severance will be paid to anyone.
The bulletin advises the company “does not have any cash to continue operations.”
“Minto had been working closely with a large investor that had committed to putting a significant amount of money into the company, unfortunately they have not come through for us,” reads the bulletin.
The number of workers laid off remains unknown. The mine had about 180 staff and subcontractors in total during operations. As of May 12, there were 129 employees and subcontractors on site, according to Yukon government officials. Officials said JDS Mining had about 50 staff on site over the weekend.
The bulletin indicates JDS Mining will be looking to hire some of the former Minto Metal Corp. staff and will be reaching out to prospective employees that they are interested in making job offers to.
“What does this mean for you? If you are not on site, your time at Minto is over unless JDS calls you and offers you a job,” reads the bulletin.
“For those of you at the mine, we are organizing planes to remove you from site and get you home and then your time at Minto is also over.”
The bulletin notes the “unfortunate outcome” and ends by thanking everyone for their efforts in “trying to turn Minto around.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org