North American Tungsten has asked Yukon environmental assessors for approvals to open an underground tungsten mine near the Yukon-Northwest Territories border.
In a 750-page proposal filed with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board this month, the Vancouver-based company says it wants to build, operate and close a mine at its Mactung deposit in northeast Yukon.
The assessment board is inviting the public to comment on the proposal until Nov. 23.
North American Tungsten already operates the Cantung tungsten mine, which is south of the Mactung deposit.
If approved, construction at Mactung would begin next year and mining would begin by 2013. About 150 people would be working at the mine over its 11-year lifespan, according to the application.
But North American Tungsten's plans reveal some major environmental threats and impacts. For example, the company wants to store up to two million litres of fuel, for heavy equipment and five power generators, on the mine site.
It also wants to build access roads in the area, including a 35-kilometre road from the North Canol Road to the mine.
A 13-kilometre road would run from the mine site to the Hess River, from which the company wants to pipe water to the 150-person camp and their milling operations.
Many of the people that would be brought to the Mactung site would be flown in, so North American Tungsten is applying to have the MacMillan Pass airstrip upgraded and expanded to allow regular flights.
Some of the Yukon's highways would also have to be upgraded — at its peak, North American Tungsten hopes to send 10 trucks, weighing 40 tonnes each, daily down the North Canol Road, over the Pelly River by barge and along the Campbell Highway.
Tungsten ore from the Mactung mine would be trucked to Edmonton and Vancouver for further processing, according to the application.
Calls to North American Tungsten for comment were not returned on Thursday.