Yukon's Minto mine OK'd to ramp up operations
Workers are set to begin stripping and mining a new open pit at the Yukon copper mine
The Yukon government has given Minto Exploration Limited permission to extract copper ore from a new open pit mine at its property in central Yukon.
The company closed down its last open pit mine in October, resulting in 58 layoffs by contractor Pelly Construction as well as eight direct Minto employees, said Ron Light, the mine's general manager.
It continued to mine an underground ore body, but the newly approved project will "extend our mine life and allow us to mill to the end of 2017," he said.
More than 40 workers from Pelly Construction will be recalled to dig and operate the new pit, as well as six to eight Minto employees, said Light. The laid off workers will be given priority for the positions that come up with the new operations.
"They are a good group to work with," he said.
Minto will continue to mine underground and from the new open pit until the end of 2017, he said. During that time the company will look at developing further open pits at the site.
Since the layoffs in October, the price of copper has risen to $2.49 per pound from $2.10 per pound, which "is all positive," said Light.
"We're looking forward to the communication we're going to share in Vancouver at the Roundup conference," Pillai said.
"We're feeling very optimistic about what's happening in the mining sector."
Fifty per cent of Minto employees are Yukoners, up from 15 per cent four years ago, Light said.