The Yukon government has approved a new open pit at Capstone Mining Corp.’s Minto mine, which could allow the mine to stay open through 2017.
The government issued an amended mining licence for the copper mine on Dec. 13.
“Minto is Yukon’s only operating hard rock mine and we are pleased to see they are moving forward with plans to continue mining in 2017,” said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai in a news release. “Minto employs many Yukoners and contributes to the well-being of the nearby communities.”
Mine manager Ron Light has said he hopes to hire 40-45 people to mine the new pit, ideally starting in January.
In the fall, Whitehorse contractor Pelly Construction Ltd. had to lay off 58 workers at the mine near Pelly Crossing, after mining at the previous open pit wrapped up.
Earlier this month, Pelly Construction vice-president Jennifer Byram told the News she hopes that many of those workers will come back to mine the new pit.
Light told the News the decision to open a new pit was made in part because of the rising price of copper.
Minto was expected to go into temporary closure in mid-2017. Now, Light estimates the new pit will be mined until July or August, and underground mining could continue until the end of the year.
–With files from Ashley Joannou