Kaminak Gold Corporation has announced plans to upgrade and complete an access road to its proposed Coffee gold mine south of Dawson City, with the support of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation.
The road would be 190 kilometres long, though more than 160 kilometres already exist and would only require some upgrades. The road connects to the Klondike highway just east of Dawson, and would lie entirely within the traditional territory of the First Nation.
“Not only will the northern access road route to Coffee maximize business opportunities for our citizens, it will also provide great benefit for the entire town of Dawson City,” said Chief Roberta Joseph in a news release.
The mining company anticipates that the road will only be used by four transport trucks per day, ferrying fuel and other supplies to the site. Gold mined at the site would be flown out from a proposed airstrip.
The route will cross the Stewart and Yukon rivers, with trucks crossing by ferry during the summer and ice road during the winter. During shoulder seasons, supplies would be flown in.
Kaminak initially estimated the cost of building the access road at $35 million, but now believes that price may be lower, since the chosen route requires relatively little construction.
Public consultation meetings are ongoing, as are engineering and environmental surveys for the project.
The Coffee project is one of several properties staked by Yukon prospector Shawn Ryan, who discovered the White Gold district in 2009. Drilling began at Coffee in 2010, and Kaminak estimates that a mine on the site would have a lifespan of 11 years, and would cost $305 million to build.