Western Copper and Gold is consulting this week on its plans to build the Casino mine.
The project, if it is built, will be massive.
“There are a number of mines in B.C. and obviously globally that are of this sort of scale, but it’s at the top end of that scale,” said Paul West-Sells, the company’s president, at a public meeting in Whitehorse Tuesday.
Based on a feasibility study released late last year, the mine could extract ore at a rate of 125,000 tonnes per day.
By comparison, Capstone Mining Corp.‘s Minto mine currently has a capacity of 3,600 tonnes per day.
Casino is located within Selkirk First Nation traditional territory, to the west of Pelly Crossing.
The mine is expected to operate for at least 22 years, providing 1,000 jobs during peak construction and 600 jobs during peak production.
The project would include a power plant with a capacity of 150 megawatts, more than the current capacity of all electric power in the Yukon. It would be fuelled by liquefied natural gas, to be trucked in from Outside.
It would require 10 trucks per day to get the LNG in, and 20 trucks per day to get the ore out.
Construction could start in 2016.
The big question at this point is who will pay for all of this. It will cost $2.5 billion to get the mine into production.
“That sounds like a big number,” said West-Sells. “It is a big number. But what I would point out is that right now there is a $3.5 billion copper mine being built in Chile, and there’s a $4.5 billion copper mine being built in Panama.”
Western Copper is a Vancouver-based junior company and does not have the resources to fund a project like this alone.
Typically a company in this position will seek a wealthy partner, or sell the project outright.
In the meantime, Western Copper is working towards getting the project as shovel-ready as possible.
It hopes to submit an application to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board this year, and have all permits in place by 2015.
Consultations continue in Carmacks today, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the recreation centre.
And on Thursday, company officials will be in Pelly Crossing at the Link Building from 1-5 p.m.
Food will be provided.
“This is the time to get your input into this project,” said West-Sells. “If people have concerns, people are worried about aspects of it, this is the time to come and talk those through, and have them addressed, so that when we bring our application forward for review by YESAB and get it licensed, it’s a project that everybody wants.”
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at