Chihong commits $56M to Selwyn project in 2014

Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd. plans to spend $56 million in 2014 towards developing the Selwyn lead-zinc project in the Howard's Pass region in eastern Yukon. The company bought the project from Selwyn Resources Ltd.

Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd. plans to spend $56 million in 2014 towards developing the Selwyn lead-zinc project in the Howard’s Pass region in eastern Yukon.

The company bought the project from Selwyn Resources Ltd. in June.

Because the new owners are such a big company, they can take a long-term view and invest despite the current downturn in the mining industry, said Maurice Albert, Selwyn Chihong’s vice-president of external affairs.

The previous owners, all junior mining companies, were “entirely dependent on the whims of markets to be able to raise money for the project,” said Albert.

For example, the company plans to spend $12-13 million to upgrade the Howard’s Pass access road, constructed in the 1970s, which has since fallen into disrepair.

The plan is to build five bridges this winter, and to repair the road itself in the summer and fall.

That route has been used on occasion as a winter road to bring in heavy equipment, but other than that all of the access has been by air, said Albert.

It’s hard for smaller companies to drum up the capital required for that sort of work, he said.

“That’s a lot of money for a junior mining company that’s going to go to the open market and say, ‘Hey, we want to build a road to the project, would you lend us $13 million?’”

But with deeper pockets, Selwyn Chihong can make the investments now that will make the project more attractive down the road.

Chihong has over 60 years of experience in exploration, mining and smelting.

The billion-dollar company’s major shareholder is China Yunnan Metallurgical Group, which is itself majority owned by the Yunnan provincial government.

The company has set its sights on a much bigger project than had previously been envisioned.

There are 15 identified deposits on the site, but the company only has good geological information for about two of them, said Albert.

So a drilling program has been planned for this summer to prove up some of those reserves, showing to investors that a bigger mine is warranted.

“The resources are quite considerable, on the site. So we know that it’s just a matter of drilling to locate the resources on the site. It’s one of the richest undeveloped deposits in the world.”

The exploration will use four to six drills beginning in March, with work continuing through the summer.

Up to 70 people will be hired for that work, to be housed at the existing camps on the property.

The company has all of its permits in place for both the road upgrades and the exploration program, said Albert.

The company will also start work on a bankable feasibility study for the mine.

That won’t be ready until 2015, said Albert.

The goal for 2014 is to identify the best options for power for the operations, a port to get the ore to market, and transportation get the ore to port, he said.

Selwyn Chihong is also working hard to implement agreements it has signed with the First Nations in the area.

The project lies on the traditional territory of the Kaska, as well as the Sahtu and the Dehcho in the Northwest Territories.

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

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read