Western Copper and Gold has submitted the largest proposal ever to the Yukon Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

Documents for the proposed Casino Mine total about 7,000 pages.

Stephen Mills

'We do recognize that we need additional technical expertise to help us,' says Stephen Mills of YESAB.

It's the first step in a long process that could see the development of a $2.5 billion open-pit mine that would be larger than any mine currently in production in the territory.

“It’s large in all aspects,” says Stephen Mills, chair of the YESAB.

If the mine is approved, the company says it could produce more than 400,000 ounces of gold annually and more than 200 million pounds of copper from the property about 300 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse. 

The mine will also use more power than is currently generated in the territory, and it would have 50 to 60 trucks a day going to the site.

The mine could employ about 1,000 people during construction and provide 600 full-time jobs during production. Mine life is estimated at 22 years.

Mills says YESAB has been preparing for this review and will hire experts to help.

“We do recognize that we need additional technical expertise to help us and inform us in this assessment.”

Casino Mine President Paul West-Sells says the mine is large for the Yukon, but is typical of other mines operating in western Canada. 

He says the company has already done a lot of outreach to First Nations and Yukon communities.

“There shouldn't really be any surprises for anybody who is most affected by this project,” West-Sells says.

West-Sells also says the mine won’t open overnight.

"It can take 18 months to two years to bring a project of this scale through YESAB," he says. "This is the first step and once it's through YESAB, there is a quartz mining licence and water use licence that need to be obtained as well."