The well-churned soil around Dawson City has already yielded plenty of gold to decades of miners — but they probably missed even more.
They forgot to check under the roads.
Miner Stuart Schmidt is hoping to dig for gold under Dawson’s Dome Road, the eight-kilometre winding route up to the city’s famous Midnight Dome.
For years, mining activities on both sides of the road have yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in mineral wealth — prompting Schmidt to believe that a million dollars’ worth may still lie buried beneath the chip-sealed surface.
The plan is simple: Schmidt will reroute the road at his own expense, improve upon its original design and then reap the gold beneath.
“Move the road over a little bit, make the corners a little bit less and try to improve the intersection at Mary McLeod (Road),” he said.
Schmidt, through his company, Schmidt Mining, has ongoing operations in the decidedly less-frequented locales of Barker Creek and the lower 60 Mile River, located just upriver of Dawson.
In mining the Dome Road, Schmidt said he is motivated partially by a desire to “clean up the area a little bit.”
Currently, Schmidt is meeting with engineering firms to hash out the details of the reconstruction — which he estimates could cost from $200,000 to $300,000.
Dawson city council, which heard Schmidt’s pitch on Tuesday night, has apparently warmed to the idea of free road improvements.
“Everything is on the table for discussion — where it would be and where it would go,” said Paul Moore, chief administration officer for Dawson.
“Certainly the city has every interest in making sure the road is at least as good as the existing road,” he added.
The idea of digging up the Dome Road has been brought forward before but obviously to no avail, said Moore.
In the recent past, no major mining initiatives have taken place within the city’s municipal boundaries, he added.
At the next council meeting on September 2, Schmidt will present more details of his plan.