Minto Mine could remain open until 2020 or ‘possibly beyond’

Capstone’s Minto mine, the only operating mine in the Yukon, will remain open until the middle of 2020.

Capstone’s Minto mine, the only operating mine in the Yukon, will remain open until the middle of 2020.

The copper mine, located 240 kilometres north of Whitehorse, was slated for closure in December of 2017, based on poor market forecasts and copper prices below US$2 per pound, said Ron Light, the mine’s general manager. The market has improved, however, he said, and prices have gone up.

“It’s certainly a better future than we saw last year,” he said.

Approximately 80 employees were laid off in September 2016. Most of those employees were called back again in January, he said.

“I think the encouraging thing about this is that about 50 per cent of our employees are based in the Yukon,” Light said.

The mine currently employs 306 people, he said, with 144 of those being direct Minto employees and another 162 working for contractors. Light said their “most important” contractor, Pelly Construction, has 60 employees.

Light said they are currently fully staffed, so any new hires to the mine would be for replacement purposes.

The price of copper on April 27 was US$2.58 per pound.

“The exchange rate certainly helps us,” Light said.

The mine could remain open “possibly beyond” 2020 if the company can tap into other ore bodies, which may require additional permitting, he said.

The 2020 closure date is dependant on the market remaining positive, Light said.

“If there was a significant downturn, that would definitely affect our plans,” he said.

Last December, Capstone won approval from the Yukon government for changes to its mining plan and water licence to begin mining a new pit, which would provide work for 40 to 45 employees.

Contact Lori Garrison at

Just Posted

Don Sumanik Memorial Race beats bad weather

Slick course conditions make for fast times

Ross River Dena Council to rebuild duplexes after contractor abandons site

RRDC says Vancouver-based company built units that did not meet safety standards then left

Greyhound calls for public funds to help rural routes

Call comes as bus company seeks regulatory permission to axe northern routes

Yukon government not expecting to make an early profit from pot

Finance department estimates YG will sell 700,000 grams of cannabis per year

Two Yukon projects shortlisted for the Arctic Inspiration Prize

Projects from Whitehorse, Carcross up for cash

Lower Post, B.C., man suing Yukon RCMP over assault allegation

Suit alleges man ended up with ‘ended up with bruising on his arms, biceps and chest’

Yukon needs a better plan for long-term care

The government can find solutions if it has the will. Does it have the will?

Hard travel over the Yukon’s winter trails

The overland trip to Dawson City today is a cakewalk compared to a century ago

Globalization infiltrates the Yukon’s recycling bins

You’re going to have to do a better job sorting your junk or else China won’t take it

Driving during the holidays

It’s hectic on the roads at Christmastime

Whitehorse council chambers needs new audio-visual equipment

‘More than 10 people’ watch city’s televised meetings

Most Read