Victoria Gold reaches tentative financing deal for Eagle Gold mine near Mayo
Company says construction could start this summer once deal is finalized
The owner of one of Yukon's most promising mining properties says it may be pouring gold next year if a tentative financing deal comes through.
Victoria Gold president John McConnell says a major French bank, BNP Paribas, has committed $220 million US of financing for construction of the mine.
Victoria Gold's Eagle Gold project is on its Dublin Gulch property, located about 85 kilometres northwest of Mayo. The open pit mine was given the green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2013 but the company lacked the cash to proceed.
McConnell says the company will need a total of $300 million US to begin construction. It has $40 million US of its own money in reserve and needs to raise another $40 million to complete the financing.
But McConnell says the investment from the European bankers is a big leg up.
"It really legitimizes it," he said.
"These guys have technical teams that come and scrub the project, they go through the feasibility study, they've been on site a couple times. They do their homework before they commit to those kinds of dollar values."
The project is on Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation traditional territory and the company has signed an impact benefits agreement with the First Nation. Chief Simon Mervyn says the company's close relationship with the First Nation helped secure the financing.
"It's been a long time coming," he said.
"I can recall when Victoria Gold first came into our traditional territory with dreams of starting a gold mine. We had a good relationship with Victoria Gold and McConnell and company over the years and it's proof in the pudding."
The site is accessible by road year-round and is located within the Yukon electrical grid. It's expected to employ between 350 and 400 people and have a mine life of about 10 years.
The mine's permitting is in place, so McConnell says construction could start this summer if the bank gives its final approval to the financing. He says that could take four to six weeks.
"It's about a 12-month time frame to build the mine so we could be pouring gold in 2018," he said.
with files from Dave White and Nancy Thomson