For decades, fortune hunters have flocked to Canada’s Northern territories dreaming of riches.
Over 100,000 amateur prospectors flocked to the Yukon with the hopes of striking it rich during the famous Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, marking the start of a robust and vibrant mining industry that has put the region sharply in focus.
Today, modern extraction methods and cutting-edge technology have helped to unearth a multitude of discoveries that have put Canada’s northern territories on the map of world-renowned mining destinations. The mineral potential of the area is clear for majors and explorers alike, with vast deposits of gold and silver and significant base metals like zinc and copper coupled with some of the world’s most highly-regarded diamond mines.
The region’s enormous potential has spurred a new initiative, Invest Canada North, which connects global investors with the competitive advantages and opportunities in Canada’s North at one of the world’s biggest annual mining conferences, the PDAC Convention. Its initiatives showcase each region, through keynote presentations, panels and special sessions, highlighting the leaders in exploration, development and production, as well as the wider mining ecosystem that is supported by progressive Indigenous and community partnerships.
Proactive took a look at some of the major projects currently underway in the three northern territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Population: 42,152 (2020)
Total land mass: 482,443 square kilometres
Capital city: Whitehorse
Alexco Resource Corp (TSE:AXU) (NYSEAMERICAN:AXU) owns the majority and most prospective part of the Keno Hill Silver District, which is one of the highest-grade silver districts in the world. The area historically produced more than 214 million ounces of silver at an average grade of approximately 1,373 grams per ton (g/t) from the early 1900s through the late 1980’s.
Western Copper And Gold Corporation (TSE:WRN) (NYSEAMERICAN:WRN) is developing Casino, one of the most economic copper-gold projects in the world, hosting reserves of 4.5 billion pounds of copper and 8.9 million ounces of gold plus an addition 5.4 billion pounds of copper and 9.0 million ounces of gold in the inferred category. The project will benefit from a recent funding announcement from the Canadian Government to support an access road leading right to the Casino mine.
Fireweed Zinc (CVE:FWZ) (OTCMKTS: FWEDF) is focused on advancing the Macmillan Pass Project, a huge land package of over 544 square kilometres and host to the Tom, Jason, Boundary Zone and End Zone zinc-lead-silver deposits. With the recent addition of Nidd, Fireweed now has all four known large zinc mineralized systems in the region as well as many other zinc exploration targets including the entire highly prospective “fertile corridor”, extending from Tom to the Boundary Zone and beyond.
Victoria Gold Corp (TSE:VGCX) first poured gold from its Eagle mine 2019 and achieved commercial production in July 2020. In full production, the mine will produce 210,000 ounces per year. The reserve is 3.3 million ounces of gold and the mine life is over 10 years.
ATAC Resources Ltd (CVE:ATC) holds the highly prospective Racla Gold property, which is comprised of three exploration-stage assets that each hold potential for significant mineralization.
White Gold Corp (CVE:WGO) is the brainchild of famed prospector Shawn Ryan, who discovered the Coffee deposit, now owned by Newmont Goldcorp. The company owns a claim portfolio of over 420,000 hectares in the prolific White Gold District, giving rise to the hope that Ryan and company can repeat his past discovery success.
Population: 45,074 (2020)
Total land mass: 1,144,000 square kilometres
Capital city: Yellowknife
Arctic Canadian Diamond Company Ltd recently gained ownership of the world-renowned Ekati Diamond mine - Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. The current mine life of Ekati, including the Misery underground mine and the Jay project, is 2034. Several exploration and project evaluation activities are ongoing, including the Fox Deep project which would extend the life of Ekati to 2042.
Rio Tinto Group (LON:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) owns the Diavik Diamond Mine, which sits around 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, at the bottom of Lac de Gras. The operation produces some of the world’s most beautiful and sought-after diamonds and employs over 1,100 people, 22% of which are Northern Indigenous.
Nighthawk Gold Corp (TSE:NHK) (OTCQX:MIMZF) has 100% ownership of its flagship asset Colomac, a robust project with current Indicated Resources of 25.89 million tons at an average grade of 2.01 g/t gold for 1.67 million ounces of gold and Inferred Resources of 5.71 million tons with an average grade of 2.03 g/t gold for 0.37 million ounces of gold, with the majority of ounces contained within an underground resource.
Osisko Metals Inc (CVE:OM) (OTCMKTS:OMZNF) owns the Pine Point Mining Camp, which currently has an after-tax NPV of $500 million and IRR of 29.6%. The proposed mine would be the fourth largest in the Americas and the ninth in the world producing clean, high-grade zinc and lead concentrates.
Population: 39,353 (2020)
Total land mass: 1,877,787 square kilometres (not including 160,930 square kilometres of water)
Capital city: Iqaluit
Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (TSE:AEM) (NYSE:AEM) operates two major mines in the territory: the Meadowbank complex, and open pit gold operation, and Meliadine, its largest gold deposit in terms of mineral resources. The group recently announced that it was acquiring an additional mine in Nunavut – the Hope Bay gold operation, which up until January 2021 was run by TMAC Resources.
Baffinland Iron Mines Corp is a private company producing iron ore at the Mary River operation in the Qikiqtani region of North Baffin, Nunavut. It is jointly owned by The Energy and Minerals Group and ArcelorMittal. The mine produces the highest grade of direct shipping iron ore in the world.
Sabina Gold and Silver Corp (TSE:SBB) (OTCMKTS:SGSVF) owns the advanced, large, district scale, fully permitted Back River gold project, which lies along an 80km long belt, with a series of gold deposits.
Fury Gold Mines Limited (TSE:FURY) (NYSEAMERICAN:FURY) owns a 100% interest in the high-grade Committee Bay gold project, which includes over 270,000 hectares situated along the Committee Bay Greenstone Belt and is located around 180 kilometres from Agnico’s Meadowbank mine.
ValOre Metals Corp (CVE:VO) holds Canada’s highest-grade uranium resource outside of Saskatchewan, and one of the highest-grade uranium resources on a global basis. The 105,280 hectare Angilak Property in Nunavut Territory, hosts the Lac 50 Trend with a NI 43-101 Inferred Resource of 2,831,000 tonnes grading 0.69% U3O8, totaling 43.3 million pounds U3O8.
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