Yukon prospectors trying to revive the mining industry

Some prospectors from Dawson City, Yukon think they might have a way to revive the mining industry in the territory.

New technologies are being displayed at the Geoscience Forum this week

Some prospectors from Dawson City, Yukon think they might have a way to revive the mining industry in the territory.

Some prospectors from Dawson City, Yukon think they might have a way to revive the mining industry in the territory.

The industry has been hit hard by the world's financial woes. Spending on exploration is about one sixth of what it was a few years ago.

GroundTruth Exploration is showing off equipment at the Yukon's annual Geoscience Forum in Whitehorse this week.

Several partners, led by prospector Shawn Ryan, have developed new ways of initial exploration using drones, software and other gear designed to find hidden mineral deposits.

One of the big advantages for a mineral exploration company is new equipment that replaces the cumbersome and expensive practice of trenching.

The geoprobe machine is relatively inexpensive to run and just wanders through the bush.

Gerry Carlson, with Pacific Ridge Exploration, says the geoprobe machine is relatively inexpensive to run.

"There's a crew of three people plus the machine and it just wanders through the bush, so it doesn't require any heavy equipment, and I think you end up with the same number of geochemical samples in terms of the analytical costs, but the actual collecting the sample is much more efficient," Carlson said.

Spending on mineral exploration in Yukon has dropped from more than $300 million two years ago to just $45 million this year.

Ryan says that has companies looking for ways to reduce costs. He thinks people will catch onto this new technology because it's very inexpensive to run.

Prospector Shawn Ryan says mining companies are looking for ways to reduce costs.

Ryan says the other big advantage is that his new methods greatly reduce the visual impact on the environment.

He's optimistic the combination of cost savings and less environmental impact will renew enthusiasm in the mineral exploration industry.

Ryan says this new method of initial exploration work was designed for work in the Yukon, but he says it could be used in countries like Sweden, Argentina, Finland, Turkey, and other places in the world.

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