North

Yukon's Minto Mine sold, new owner plans to reopen it this year

U.K.-based Pembridge Resources has agreed to pay nearly $20 million US for the copper and gold mine that was shut down last fall.

Mine was shut down last fall after earlier deal with U.K.-based Pembridge Resources fell through

The sale of the Minto Mine to U.K.-based Pembridge Resources has been in the works for more than a year. An earlier agreement to purchase the mine fell through when the price of copper took a dive. (Capstone Mining Corp.)

Yukon's mothballed Minto Mine has been sold, and the new owner hopes to bring it back into production later this year.

U.K.-based Pembridge Resources has agreed to pay up to $20 million US for the copper and gold mine that's about 240 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse.

The staged payments to the mine's previous owner, B.C.-based Capstone Mining Corp., will hinge on the mine going back into production, and the price of copper.

The sale has been in the works for more than a year.

In early 2018, Capstone announced that it had reached an agreement with Pembridge to sell the mine for $37.5 million US in cash, plus shares. But that deal fell through when the price of copper dropped through the summer.

The mine northwest of Whitehorse first went into production in 2007. It's been in care and maintenance mode since last fall. (Capstone Mining Corp.)

Capstone then decided to put the mine into care and maintenance mode last fall, reducing the number of workers on site from about 200 to about a dozen.

"The sale of the Minto mine is very good news all around," said Darren Pylot, president and CEO of Capstone, in a news release.

"Capstone will no longer incur the expense of having the mine on care and maintenance, and the recommencement of operations will be positive for Minto employees, contractors and the local economy."

Paul Jones, Capstone's vice-president for business development and investor relations, said the company has other priorities.

"We have some larger operations in our portfolio that require the capital," said Jones.

"And so it's a nice opportunity to divest the mine to someone who's going to put the focus and effort into Minto whereas we have other assets that need, kind of, our capital and our management team's attention," Jones said.

As a condition of the sale, Pembridge will have to post the required financial security to cover costs associated with closing the mine.

In a news release, Pembridge says it has already raised $10 million US to bring the mine back into production. The company expects to have the mine operating by the end of this year.