The White Gold Region of the Yukon Revisited
Kitco Commentaries | Opinions, Ideas and Markets Talk
Featuring views and opinions written by market professionals, not staff journalists.
Earlier this year, in mid-February, I drew to your attention the on-going mining resurgence of the White Gold District in the Yukon, the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three federal territories. The article, which you can find linked here, discussed the rise of global major miner investment in the district and the on-going lobbying by the industry for more infrastructure spending from both the Federal and Territorial Governments.
For the first time in four years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Whitehorse during this past Labour Day weekend. “After 668 days as Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has finally decided to travel north to Yukon â€“ the only jurisdiction in the country he has yet to visit,” the Yukon party said in a statement on August 30th. Trudeau was Canada’s Liberal leader when he last visited the Yukon capitol in July, 2013.
This long over-due visit ended with a formal press conference in Whitehorse on September 2nd, Prime Minister Trudeau, and the Premier of Yukon, Sandy Silver, announced over $360 million in combined federal and territorial funding to improve road access in two mineral-rich areas: the Dawson Range in central Yukon and the Nahanni Range Road in southeastern Yukon.
Trudeau was quoted at the conference and stated, “Modern infrastructure is key to developing and properly managing the incredible natural resources we have at our fingertips. By providing easier access to important resources across Yukon, the Yukon Resource Gateway Project will help create good, middle class jobs, promote long-term economic prosperity, and support a strong, sustainable North.”
In regards to investors, the resource potential has not been an issue in this highly prospective district, it has been the lack of infrastructure so that the extraction of its resources can be done economically. This funding approval not only provides necessary funds for upgrading the infrastructure in these areas, Government has just sent a clear message to the market that the Yukon is open for business, and will assist in the process of building the needed infrastructure in order to do so.
There are two mining companies which will benefit significantly from this funding announcement. White Gold Corp. (WGO.V) is the largest landholder in the White Gold District, Dawson Range, owning 19,438 quartz claims covering 390,000 hectares which represents approximately 40% of the district. The properties range from early stage to more advanced exploration projects, including approximately one million ounces of gold grading between 2.7 and 3.19 grams per tonne (g/t) gold based on historic estimates of measured and indicated resources on its White Gold property. Assays are pending from the firm’s first drill program since shares began trading on the Venture Exchange last year. The company is fully funded for a 3-year drill program and global major miners Kinross Gold and Agnico-Eagle each own 19.9% of the company.
Western Copper and Gold (WRN.TO) is developing the 100% owned world-class Casino project, which is currently in the permitting phase. The project boasts a reserve of 4.5 billion lbs of copper and 8.9 million ounces of gold with 5.4 billion lbs of copper and 9.0 million ounces of gold inferred. This government approval will complete funding for upgrading the initial 82 km of the existing access road to standards required for the Casino Project and 30% funding for the additional 126 km of new access road to the Casino site.
Western’s CEO Paul West-Sells attended the Whitehorse press conference and was quoted as saying, "Construction of this road will provide jobs and business opportunities to the communities and First Nations in the short term, and will provide much needed infrastructure to the Casino Project that will provide significant benefit to these communities, First Nations, and the Yukon in general for the long term. While the people of Yukon are the true beneficiaries from this Funding Approval, shifting the roadwork commitments to the Government will also reduce the capital expenditure for Casino."
Full disclosure: I own shares of both WGO.V & WRN .TO which were both mentioned in this article and purchased them in the open market. I have also recommended both of these companies to my subscribers. Please do your own due diligence before purchasing shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.