The Big Casino
January 31, 2013
For 40 years the Casino deposit has been around. Now Western Copper and Gold Corp. may be finally developing this large Yukon mine.
The Casino project is located 300 km. north-west of Whitehorse. The proven and probable reserves include: 8 M oz gold, 4 B lbs copper, 494 M lbs. moly and 61 M oz. silver. That’s a whole lot of mineral content.
- The Casino project is estimated to contribute $9.8 billion to Canada’s GDP, create 55,000 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs), and generate $2.8 billion in wages and salaries. Other than the quantified economic benefits, the Casino project will also provide training opportunities and improve territorial infrastructure.
- The Casino porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit will be developed as a conventional truck-shovel, open pit mine, initially processing the gold bearing oxide cap as a heap leach operation. Sulphide ore processing would commence approximately 2.5 years later at a nominal rate of 120,000 tpd in a concentrator, which would produce a copper concentrate and a molybdenum concentrate. A gold rich stream from the concentrator will also be leached to recover gold. Higher ore grades and greater concentrate production during the initial 4 years of operation provide an accelerated cash flow during this period resulting in a capital payback in 3.3 years at long term commodity prices.
- The project includes a power island consisting of two gas turbine generators complete with heat recovery boilers and a single steam driven generator, and internal combustion engine driven generators for a total installed generation capacity of 149 MW. Liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) will be imported to the site and gasified to provide natural gas to fuel the power generation plant.
- Western Copper and Gold Corp. (ticker WRN on TSX) plans a feasibility study in the next 18 months, followed by a permitting application and a production start in 2017.
- During each of its 23 years of operations, the Casino mine is expected to contribute $270 million to Yukon’s economy; the equivalent of 19% of Yukon’s 2009 GDP. Operation of the mine is estimated to contribute $356 million to Canada’s GDP annually while creating 1,600 FTEs and generating $82 million in wages and salaries across Canada.
The Casino project is but one of several looming on the Yukon’s horizon. The others: Selwyn zinc, Wellgreen platinum, Carmacks copper, Mac Pass tungsten, not to mention a few small gold mines. For a territory of 36,000 people this is a lot of mining activity that could happen in less than 10 years.
Yukon, like Alaska, represents unique and very interesting geology than the rest of North America. For starters, it’s young rock, that recently (last few hundred million years) accreted onto the continent as islands smashed into the land. So there is diversity of source and volcanic origins.
- b)"Canada's North" Report on Business, Jan 2013, p52.