helo dreamcatcher.JPG

A helicopter lifts a device used to map minerals from the air. The aerial surveys are part of an effort by the Yukon Government to get a better idea of the territory's mineral wealth. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

The Yukon government is going high-tech in an effort to map some of the territory's mineral wealth.

Geologists hope an aerial survey north of Whitehorse, will direct them to the source of the region's placer gold. 

On Wednesday, a Geotech Ltd. helicopter trailing what looks like a gigantic dreamcatcher made numerous test flights over Whitehorse. Geotech crew chief Gavin Boege described the 28-metre-wide device as something like a sophisticated metal detector. 

"It's a great system and if this can't find it then there is probably none out there that can," said Boege.

The Ontario company has been hired to map the geology of 700 square kilometres around Livingstone Creek, roughly 75 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse.

Over the years the region has produced some large placer nuggets, and Yukon geologists believe the device could pinpoint the Livingstone motherlode.

"Gold hasn't got a magnetic signature, but it's looking for the structures that we think might host the faults that contain the gold," said Carolyn Relf, director of the Yukon Geological Survey.

If the aerial survey is successful, the technique could be applied in other areas of the Yukon. Relf said results will be made public this summer in the hope it will prompt more exploration at Livingstone Creek.