Yukon Mining Exploration Booms, Expected to Triple in 2010


"Development dollars are going through the roof. . ."

Mineral exploration spending in the Yukon far exceeded territorial government forecasts, more than doubling this year.

Government forecasts now predict Yukon mining production will triple in 2010.

In the recently published Yukon Economic Update the territorial government estimates mining exploration expenditures will total around C$90 million (US$85m), far exceeding the original estimate in the May Economic Update.

"The upward revision to the estimate for 2009 is due in part to increased interest in properties near Underworld Resources' White Gold property following excellent drill results. . .in the spring of 2009," the update revealed.

"Recent positive results along with strong gold prices throughout 2009 have helped contribute to over 7,000 new claims stake in the area around the Underworld Resources property," the document said.

In a speech to the 37th Yukon Geoscience Forum in Whitehorse Monday, Mike Burke, the head of mineral services for the Yukon Geological Survey, also highlighted the Yukon Zinc Corp Wolverine Mine project, which is now preparing for production southeast of Ross River. "Development dollars are going through the roof, mostly with Yukon Zinc's Wolverine Mine," he said.

Burke said 47% of exploration dollars in the Yukon are going to gold, 23% for silver, and 30% for base metals.

Placer geologist William LeBarge told the forum the value of placer gold production is expected to achieve a 20-year high. He speculated that this year's placer gold total could hit 66,000 ounces with a value of C$57 million, the highest in twenty years.

The Dawson district has yielded 86% of the placer gold production so far this year.

For placer gold producers, the high price of gold in U.S. dollars has softened some of the negative impacts resulting from the strengthening Canadian dollar, the report suggested.

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