Like your smart phone? Thank a miner.

Scott Kent, MLA for Riverdale NorthAs Submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, May 6, 2016
by Scott Kent, Minister of Energy, Mines & Resources

Our government was very pleased to pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week yesterday in the Legislative Assembly.

Organized by the Yukon Chamber of Mines, the many events and activities that took place this past week – from the always-popular Mining & Exploration Discovery Camp at the S.S. Klondike to the Whitehorse Copper Belt field tour – provided great opportunities for Yukon families to learn more about the mineral industry and the science of geology.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to take the time to appreciate our rich mining heritage, while remembering the men and women who have contributed to it. This is also the week when we acknowledge the contributions that mining and mineral exploration have made to our quality of life in Yukon.

The trickle-down economic effects of a successful mining industry are obvious.

With exploration and mining activities come employment, wages and tax revenues. These revenues, combined with other sources, allow us to invest in infrastructure and programs – everything from roads, hospitals and schools to arts grants and health-care services.

The economic spinoffs from the minerals sector benefit local businesses such as hotels, restaurants and retailers. The industry also relies on the suppliers of equipment, transportation, health services, engineering expertise and environmental monitoring services.

In the tribute we also spoke about the ongoing work of the Yukon Geological Survey. A branch of the department of Energy, Mines and Resources, the YGS generates and compiles scientific and technical information about Yukon’s geology and mineral deposits.

The raw data it collects, and the analysis it provides, helps guide the decision making of the Yukon government and of Yukon’s private mineral sector.

For example, YGS recently acquired a wealth of historical data from the National Archives that was compiled by a prominent company that operated in the Klondike from 1923 to 1966, the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation.

Our geologists are pulling key information from these documents – which include 950 maps and 230 reports – to help identify areas within previously mined creeks where gold-bearing gravels may have been overlooked by the original miners.

Another YGS project this year is the electromagnetic survey of the Livingstone Creek area, a historical placer district northeast of Whitehorse that has been the source of large gold nuggets. The goal of this aerial work is to identify geologic structures that could be the source of this gold.

When the geophysical maps and data from this work are released to the public, prospectors will have a valuable new source of information to guide their exploration work in the region.

YGS geologists also visited more than 100 placer operations and quartz exploration camps over the past year. During these visits they shared their expertise with miners and prospectors, and collected information to update our mining and geology database.

These valuable investments by the Yukon Geological Survey produces practical geologic information and supports exploration, which in turn provides longer-term economic benefits to all Yukoners.

As it has for well over a century, placer mining continues to be a solid contributor to Yukon’s economy. Last year, an estimated 62,271 crude ounces of placer gold was extracted, with a value of approximately $73.2 million.

On the hard-rock side, companies invested more than $65 million in exploration last year, despite the global downturn in commodity prices. The fact that companies such as Wellgreen Platinum, Kaminak Gold and ATAC Resources are continuing to successfully raise exploration capital is a testament to the mining sector’s tenacity and to Yukon’s mineral potential.

Another highlight of the past week was last night’s official launch of the Our Yukon, In It Together campaign, which is supported by our Department of Economic Development.

Led by the Yukon Chamber of Mines, the campaign is designed to help Yukoners better-understand how mining enriches our lives and our communities.

The launch featured the debut of six new videos that tell the stories of our most vital private sector employer and its committed First Nations partners. I encourage all Yukoners to check out the videos at www.ouryukon.com.

I would like to thank the Yukon Chamber of Mines, the Yukon Geological Survey, and everyone else who worked together to organize events for another exceptional week dedicated to mining and geology in Yukon.