MINING IN YUKON
It was gold that opened up the Yukon country, drawing in the Klondikers during the 1896-98 gold rush. There have been other gold rushes in Colorado, California, Australia and British Colombia, but none have ever surpassed the gold fever of the Klondike.
August 16, 1896 marks the first major discovery of gold in the Klondike. Local miners soon staked claims and established the town of Dawson. The world was in the midst of an economic depression, causing people to rush to the Klondike seeking economic wealth. Over 100,000 optimistic stampeders rushed to the Klondike gold fields, with only 40,000 of them actually reaching the Klondike.
Placer gold (gold that has been eroded from its mother rock, and transported a distance away from where it was formed) mining remains the mainstay of the Yukon economy from the time of gold rush until the early 1920’s. The total recorded fine gold production from 1885 to date is over 20 million ounces, valued at more than US $25 billion at today's prices.
Geology of Yukon
The Yukon Territory, located in the far northwest corner of Canada covers an area of 207,076 square miles. The gold deposits in the Yukon were formed during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras - when the northern Canadian Cordilleran orogeny was formed.
The extreme pressure and heat, along with the movement of magma, resulted in the formation of many valuable ore deposits, including gold. Two events are responsible for the Orogenic gold veins. The oldest veins, beginning in the Jurassic era, formed after peak metamorphism of the Yukon-Tanana Terrane. This erosion likely contributed to the Klondike placer deposits. The youngest orogenic veins formed during Eocene metamorphism and uplift of more outboard terranes near the Coast Plutonic Complex.
The placer mining deposits are a result of several Quaternary glacial advances in the Yukon. Given the amount of placer gold extracted in the area, locating the original source is the next step in the evolution of gold exploration in the Yukon. From comparisons with the Alaskan deposits that have been mined, the magnitude of gold potential in Yukon is very high.
Mining Conditions today
Yukon is a great place for mining operations. The Yukon government controls and administers its natural resources. Decisions about oil and gas, mining, lands, forests, and water are made by Yukoners. New initiatives are based on the principles of creating legal certainty, implementing regulatory efficiency, applying the principles of integrated resource management, and providing responsive client services. Yukon is entering a new era of economic partnerships and investment opportunities based on government-to-government relationships with First Nations, who are becoming full partners in the territory’s resource development.
Second, Yukon is accessible, connected, and ready to help you do business. The territory’s physical infrastructure includes over 4,800 km of all-weather roads, an international airport plus 10 community airports, proximity to two ice-free ports, a broadband telecommunications network, and a clean, stable energy system. In addition, Yukon is strategically positioned for the global market place. With direct access to Asia via two ice-free ports in Alaska, Yukon companies are closer than ever to potential investors and buyers of their product.
Because of these advantages, Yukon's mining operations have been growing, both in exploration and development expenditures. Many new discoveries have been made in the recent years, receiving much global attention.