'Momentous day' as Yukon's newest mine pours 1st gold bar
Premier Sandy Silver — decked out in silver — helped pour at the Eagle mine on Tuesday
Yukon's newest mine marked a milestone on Tuesday, as it poured its first gold bar — 1,001 ounces in size, and worth about $2 million.
"A momentous day," said Mark Ayranto, chief operating officer of Victoria Gold, which owns the Eagle mine near Mayo, Yukon.
Ayranto was in Whitehorse on Tuesday, in a roomful of people watching a live video feed from the mine site. On screen were two people decked head-to-toe in protective silver suits, ready to tip the molten gold into the mould.
Unrecognizable in one of those suits was Yukon Premier Sandy Silver.
The $500-million mine will be the largest in Yukon's history. It's expected to be a major contributor to the territory's economy.
Once the mine is fully operational, it will employ just under 400 people full time.
It will also be the territory's only working hard rock mine, since the Minto Mine ceased operations almost a year ago.
Ayranto says it took more than a decade of work to prepare for Tuesday's pour, and there were plenty of naysayers along the way.
"It feels good, not to prove them wrong, but just to be part of the success team. And I wish they were all here, I'd love to buy them a drink," he said.
"If you believe in the project, and you persevere and do some smart decisions, we slowly get there. It's like climbing a mountain and it feels good to be on top."
Ayranto said the mine will pour 1,000-ounce doré bars, on average, about once every two days.