Yukon prospector shows off hardware in Toronto

Prospector Shawn Ryan is at one of the world's biggest mining conferences explaining new techniques he believes could change the mineral exploration industry.
Prospector Shawn Ryan is presenting results of his work at the Yukon government's booth at the PDAC mining convention in Toronto. (Yukon Gov't)

Yukon prospector Shawn Ryan is at a big mining conference in Toronto talking-up new techniques for prospecting. Ryan is presenting the results of a study at the Prospectors and Developers convention.

He tested one of his techniques on a number of deposits in Yukon already proven through conventional methods.

Ryan says it worked 6 to 7 times, out of ten. He says the conventional way works around 20 to 30 percent of the time.

He and his team do geophysical surveys by stringing-out a 420-metre cable over an area that soil sampling has already indicated may have potential. The cable has electrodes, spaced out every five metres, that send electrical currents about 100 metres down into the ground. The results can show faults or cracks that may contain gold.

Shawn Ryan, left, with co-workers at his base camp in Dawson City takes measurements from electrodes that send electrical currents about 100 metres into the ground. (CBC)

Ryan says it also has less impact on the environment.

"It's environmentally friendly, we're just putting little probes in the ground, we don't have to cut big lines, not invasive techniques," he says.

Ryan is also using drones and less invasive equipment in other phases of his prospecting work. He says an initial exploration program, that used to cost half a million dollars, can now be done for one hundred thousand dollars.