Minto’s bond grows to $8.3M

Minto mine needs to pony-up $4.5 million.

Minto mine needs to pony-up $4.5 million.

That money will go towards fattening-up the bond it posts with the government as collateral in case the mine goes bust and leaves an environmental mess.

The territory notified the mine’s owners, Capstone Mining Corporation, on February 15 that its new bond is $8.3 million, up from $3.8 million. The mine has until April 16 to pay.

The bond is required under Yukon’s mine reclamation and closure policy, introduced about two years ago. It’s meant to prevent another debacle like Faro mine, which may end up costing taxpayers $1 billion to clean up.

Minto’s bond has swollen because a lot has changed on the site over the past two years, when the bond was previously posted.

The company has ramped-up production at the mine. It’s actively exploring other sites on the property.

And it has struggled with unexpected volumes of water that have flooded the site, requiring the company to flush emergency discharges into the Yukon River to the dismay of the Selkirk First Nation and conservationists. The mine has built a new water treatment plant over the past year to deal with future deluges.

The final bond price will likely change. The current number is an “interim” measure until a final one is set, said Bob Holmes, Yukon’s director of mineral resources.

“It could actually be a little higher than that,” he said.

Officials with the territorial government and the Selkirk First Nation are still picking over the latest closure plan, submitted by the mine in October. Holmes expects that the plan will be signed-off by the end of the month.