Contested placer claims on the Dome in Dawson City, Yukon, will go to whichever of two partners, Darrell Carey and Rod Adams, puts in the highest bid.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale said Friday it is the equitable and just way to settle a deadlock between the two owners of the 25 claims.

Each of the owners must put in a sealed bid, along with $500,000, by Feb. 29. The bids will be opened in Veale's court on Mar. 3.

Carey is well-known in Dawson City because of another controversial mining project, also along the Dome Road. Adams is the operator of a prominent Whitehorse contracting business, Nuway Crushing.

The two men have been in dispute over their jointly-owned Dome mining claims since at least 2014. Their disagreements over how to proceed prevented any mining from being done there last year. 

Adams' lawyer argued in court that her client tried to resolve the differences, but said Carey ignored those efforts.

‚ÄčAdams proposed each partner should submit a sealed bid for the claims, with the highest bidder winning all of them. Carey favoured splitting all the claims between them.

Justice Veale said splitting the claims would not be fair because the claims had not been assessed for their respective values.

He said submitting sealed bids is a well-established way to end deadlocks between partners.

Last month, the Yukon Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) shelved its review of the mining project, until the legal dispute between the men is settled.