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Brewery Creek mine near Dawson City to reopen after 17-year shutdown, company says

Golden Predator says the time is right to re-open the Brewery Creek gold mine near Dawson City.

Golden Predator says time is right to re-open gold mine

The Brewery Creek gold mine near Dawson City closed in 2002, when the price of gold slumped. The mine's current owner hopes to have it back in production within a couple of years. (Golden Predator)

Plans are underway to re-open the Brewery Creek mine near Dawson City, Yukon, 17 years after it was forced to close by slumping gold prices.

"We see a lot more opportunity on the project," said Janet Lee-Sheriff, CEO of Golden Predator Mining Corp., which bought the mine in 2009.

"It's currently a fully-licensed project with all the approvals and authorizations in place in order to go back into production."

The mine was in production from 1996 until 2002, and was Yukon's first open pit heap leach gold mine. Heap leaching is a process that uses a chemical solution to extract precious metals from ore.

Since 2002, the mine's been in temporary closure. When Golden Predator bought the project, the company took over responsibility for closure and reclamation.

Golden Predator CEO Janet Lee-Sheriff expects the construction phase to employ about 100 people, and production to require about 60 to 80 people. (Golden Predator)

Lee-Sheriff says the current price of gold means the Brewery Creek mine is viable again. Golden Predator will simply pick up where the former owner, Viceroy Resource Corp., left off with its mine plan. That would mean a mine life of about eight to nine years, she said. 

"A lot of the infrastructure was left in place for a timely restart," she said. "So we're in a very exciting spot." 

Lee-Sheriff says the company also plans to do more exploration on the site, and could seek to amend its licences to expand the project and its lifespan.

Challenge to find workers

Lee-Sheriff expects it will still take about two years to bring the mine back into production. The company is planning a "phased approach" that will require about $30 million in capital at the outset. 

Construction will mean about 100 jobs, she said, and production will require a staff of about 60 to 80 people.

Lee-Sheriff acknowledges there's a shortage of skilled workers in Yukon, so it may be tough to find staff. But she thinks the mine's location — about 55 kilometres south of Dawson City — will be a bonus.

"It's so close to the community. People can live in the community and go to work and go home at night. So it puts us in a really competitive spot because we're not doing a two-week-in/two-week-out type of operation," she said.

"It's our responsibility to make sure that we're very competitive, and we're ideally situated." 

With files from Chris Windeyer

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