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Casino mine proposal still lacks info, say Yukon gov't, First Nations

Casino Mining Corp. hopes to build the Yukon's biggest mine, but it's waiting to hear whether YESAB will accept the proposal and move forward with the assessment.

Yukon board already sent earlier project proposal back for more work

The Casino mine property, 380 kilometers northwest of Whitehorse. Western Copper and Gold says if the mine is approved, it could have a life of 22 years and employ up to 1000 people. (Western Copper and Gold)

Yukon First Nations and several territorial government departments want to send the Casino mine project proposal back for more work, saying it's still missing key information about the mine's potential impacts and the company's plans to mitigate damage.

The Casino Mining Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Copper and Gold, is planning to build what would be the Yukon's biggest mine, about 400 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse. 

If the mine is approved, the company says it could produce more than 400,000 ounces of gold annually and more than 200 million pounds of copper. It says the mine could employ up to 1,000 people at peak construction, and have a life of about 22 years.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) already sent an earlier version of the company's project proposal back, saying it was inadequate and lacked key information. The Casino Mining Corp. then submitted a revised proposal featuring additional information.

However, several Yukon First Nations have written to the board, saying key details are still lacking. The Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation says the company lacks a "comprehensive reclamation and closure plan," or a water treatment plan for the mine.

The Casino mine project would be bigger than any existing mine in the Yukon. (CasinoMining.com)
"The size of the Casino Mine is unprecedented in the Yukon, and Yukon Government guidelines to address a project of this magnitude do not yet exist," the First Nation says in its submission to the board.

Several Yukon government departments also indicated to YESAB that more detail is needed, to understand how the mine may affect things such as water quality, heritage resources, caribou herds, and the health and safety of workers.

The board is set to make a decision by May 15. If it decides the mine proposal is adequate, the project moves on to the public screening phase of assessment. The board can also ask the company again to submit additional information. 

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