Yukon Energy prepares to power Carmacks Copper

Yukon Energy prepares to power Carmacks Copper Copper North Mining Corp. is preparing to purchase power from the Yukon Energy Corp. for its proposed Carmacks Copper mine.

Copper North Mining Corp. is preparing to purchase power from the Yukon Energy Corp. for its proposed Carmacks Copper mine.

The mining company and Yukon Energy have signed a letter of intent to negotiate a power-purchase agreement. That deal would set out the terms and conditions for Yukon Energy to provide power for the mine.

Copper North’s predecessors, Western Copper and Gold Corp., submitted a proposal for the Carmacks Copper project to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2006.

Assessors issued their decision in 2008, and the government subsequently issued a quartz-mining licence for the project.

The Yukon Water Board, however, denied in 2010 the company’s application for a water licence.

The plan was to use a technique called acid heap leaching to extract copper and other metals from ore.

The ore would be pushed into piles, some as high as a 30-storey building, and then doused with sulphuric acid.

The acid dissolves the copper in the ore, which can then be collected from below.

But the water board argued that the technology was unproven and could harm nearby salmon spawning streams.

Environmentalists and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation also opposed the project.

The company took the board’s decision to the Yukon Supreme Court, arguing that the board had overstepped its authority. The courts upheld the board’s decision.

Western Copper spun-off the Carmacks property to be handled by a new company, Copper North. The company eventually dropped its planned appeal of the court decision.

Now Copper North will have to go through a brand new assessment to get the mine into production. It has made steps in that direction.

The company released a new feasibility study for the project in November 2011.

In December, it signed a letter of intent with the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation to negotiate issues surrounding consultation on the project.

The company has yet to submit an updated project plan to the assessment board.

(Jacqueline Ronson)