Yukon mining projects promoted at convention

Mining companies and prospectors that are active in Yukon are promoting their properties at an international convention this week in Toronto.

Mining companies and prospectors that are active in Yukon are promoting their properties at an international convention this week in Toronto.

Upwards of 26,000 delegates from 125 countries are at the Prospectors and Developers Convention, which began Monday and runs through Wednesday.

About 26,000 delegates from 125 countries are attending the 2011 Prospectors and Developers Convention, which got underway Monday in downtown Toronto. ((CBC))

Among those at the convention are about 40 companies that are exploring in Yukon or developing mines there, as well as various Yukoners that have a stake in the mining sector.

"It's a place to showcase your properties and to communicate with the investor public and people that know a bit about your property, to get your message out about maybe some of your plans for the upcoming summer," Michael Wark, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, told CBC News.

While some prospectors and junior mining companies are seeking potential investors and buyers, others are focusing more on explaining their projects to an international audience.

"We're always interested in people that may be interested in investing in the project, but we're more here as well just to raise the profile of the project," said Hugh Bresser of Vancouver-based Overland Resources Ltd., which has a lead-zinc property north of Faro, Yukon.

Yukon prospector to be honoured

A star delegate at this year's convention is Yukon prospector Shawn Ryan, who has sparked new interest in staking and mining in the territory in recent years.

Core samples at the White Gold deposit south of Dawson City, Yukon. Area prospector Shawn Ryan is being honoured at this week's mining convention for discovering the White Gold deposit and other achievements. ((CBC))

Ryan will receive one of the convention's top awards, the Bill Dennis Award for prospecting success, at a ceremony Monday night.

Ryan has been credited with locating the source of the alluvial gold that started the original Klondike Gold Rush more than a century ago.

He also discovered the White Gold deposit, south of Dawson City, that was picked up by Underworld Resources Ltd. That company was acquired by Kinross Gold Corp. last year.

Ryan was named prospector of the year for British Columbia and Yukon at last year's Mining Exploration Roundup in Vancouver.

Mining sector rebounding

Interest in this year's convention is high because the mining sector is rebounding from the global recession, said Tony Andrews, executive director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

"The fundamentals that were driving the boom in the first place are still there," Andrews said.

"If you were lucky enough that you invested, you'd be having a big smile on your face right now."

During a visit to the convention on Monday, Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis announced a $25-million investment for mineral exploration initiatives over five years.

"One dollar put in these initiatives generates five dollars of private investment for exploration, and it generates $125 of economic activity down the road," Paradis told reporters.

Foreign delegations

Delegations from China, Argentina, Chile, India, Mexico and Peru are at this year's convention, according to organizers.

"My interest is for gold and nickel, rare earth elements," said Liqing Zhao, who represents a Chinese company looking to buy or form joint ventures with mining projects — including those in Yukon — in the early stages of development.

Wark said all signs point to an extremely mineral exploration season this year in Yukon, with many companies planning to operate there for the first time.

"We're seeing a lot of people coming in asking where they can get helicopters, for example, this summer," he said.