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Watson Lake will 'benefit greatly' from Silvertip Mine, says mayor

The mayor of Watson Lake is applauding the news that the B.C. government has approved construction at the Silvertip Mine.

Silvertip Mine's approval 'exciting news,' mayor says

Watson Lake Mayor Richard Durocher says the project is the economic boost his town needs. (watsonlake.ca)

The mayor of Watson Lake is applauding news the B.C. government has approved construction at the Silvertip Mine.

JDS Silver, the owners of the property, say the mine will create at least 150 new jobs once production begins. Watson Lake Mayor Richard Durocher says the project is the economic boost his town needs. 

"That's exciting news for Watson Lake," says Durocher, "because it's right on our doorstep and we'll benefit greatly from it, especially with two mines in the area, one shutting down and another cutting back."

The Wolverine Mine, located north of Watson Lake, shut down in January of this year due to falling resource prices, while the nearby Cantung mine recently announced temporary layoffs for about 80 employees.

The Silvertip property is located near Rancheria, about 90 kilometres west of Watson Lake, and just 16 kilometres south of the Yukon border.

JDS Silver's plans call for summertime-only operation of its underground mine, with construction costs estimated at $50 million. Chief operating officer Kevin Weston said the mine will be one of the most environmentally responsible operations in the province.

Weston said that JDS Silver has worked out a social economic partnership with the area's Kaska First Nation.

"JDS Silver has committed to dry-stack tailings versus a conventional tailings pond, resulting in very little post-closure impact on the environment," he said. "The company intends to leave the land with minimal impact while maximizing benefits to all of our stakeholders and our partners, the Kaska First Nation."

B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett said he expects the mine to open within 15 months, but approval permits are still required for the mine's underground shaft and its above-ground operations, including a mill to turn the ore to concentrate.

With files from The Canadian Press

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