100 jobs cut at Wolverine mine

Yukon Zinc Corp. has laid off about half of the underground miners at the Wolverine mine. The move comes in response to sharply falling prices for silver and zinc.

Yukon Zinc Corp. has laid off about half of the underground miners at the Wolverine mine.

The move comes in response to sharply falling prices for silver and zinc.

“After a thorough review of the market conditions and the company’s operation itself, we think this position is very responsible to the community, to the business and to the employees as well,” said Crystal Zhang, a spokesperson for the company.

Zinc has dropped from a high of about 87 US cents per pound earlier this month down to about 82 cents today.

Silver has dropped from around $22.50 per ounce to $18.50 in the same timeframe.

About 100 jobs have been lost in the Yukon, said Zhang.

The mine will continue to operate with a single shift per day, as opposed to the usual two.

Production will decrease by about 40 per cent.

The mill will run in two-week on, two-week off shifts.

Yukon Zinc will re-evaluate its financial position in 90 days, and if metal prices have rebounded, may resume full production at that time, said Zhang.

Victoria Gold Corp. has also announced layoffs in recent days.

Gold prices dropped from around $1,400 to around $1,200 per ounce this month.

The company took “a good general look at everything, and where we thought we could cut something, we’ve done that,” said president John McConnell.

About eight people were laid off, and two executives have voluntarily stepped down, he said.

None of the jobs were located in the Yukon, said McConnell.

The company’s Eagle gold mine is fully permitted, but construction has been delayed to at least 2014 because financing has yet to be secured.

But Victoria Gold remains in a good financial position, said McConnell.

It has recently received a $10 million payment for the 2012 sale of its Cove McCoy property.

The company currently has $33 million banked. It needs $430 million to build the Eagle mine.

“We could start building tomorrow,” said McConnell. “The problem is financing in the current environment. It is very difficult. It was difficult, and then we had a couple of hundred dollar per ounce drops in the price of gold, which makes it even more difficult.”

The company plans to spend about $10 million preparing the site this season, in anticipation of full construction beginning in 2014.

“Everything is still on track. We’re moving ahead and we’re leaving no stone unturned in terms of trying to find financing for the mine. We’re in discussions with numerous banks and numerous other mining companies. We recently returned from China, there’s lots of interest from there. So we will get it done.”

Mines Minister Brad Cathers has expressed concern at the recent downturn in mineral prices.

“Any time that we see any company make a reduction in its workforce that results in any Yukoners being laid off, that’s certainly something we’re concerned about and not happy to see.”

But he is confident that this is a short-term blip that will turn around, he said.

“We do see this as a situation where clearly those commodities are undervalued at this time, so we do expect that this overcorrection will be rectified and that the markets will rebound to a more accurate valuation of mineral and metal commodities.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read