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

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

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/ Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

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.

Most Read