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Plans for massive Yukon lead-zinc mine shrink

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic
Joshua Saul photo

Plans for a massive lead-zinc mine near the Yukon–Northwestern Territories border are being downsized.

Selwyn Chihong Mining says it is reworking its mine plans because of changing metal and construction prices and tough competition for skilled workers.

Original plans called for two massive open-pit mines and a central processing mill. That would have put about 500 Apeople to work processing about 20,000 tonnes of ore per day, and also set mine owners back about a billion dollars.

Company CEO Harlan Meade said they've had to rethink those plans.

"Given these fairly volatile debt markets that we are all facing, a smaller project is definitely going to be easier to finance."

Meade says a 3,500-tonne per day operation using underground mining techniques to get at the high grade ore makes more sense.

"We can now focus on getting this plan to feasibility study and finally get into the permitting process."

Meade said the new plan would still provide nearly 300 jobs and could result in a longer mine life.

This news brief is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.