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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Yukon government files charges against Victoria Gold over activity at territory’s largest mine

The first court hearing was in Mayo on May 25 and the next will be in Whitehorse in mid-July

Yukon government files charges against Victoria Gold over activities at territory's largest mine
Gold doré bars from the Eagle Gold Mine. Image via Victoria Gold

The Yukon government has filed nine charges against Victoria Gold Corp. (TSX: VGCX) over a spill at the territory’s largest mining operation, improper water storage at the site and failure to adhere to certain regulations.

Local media reported on Thursday that the company has been charged over violations of its quartz mining and water licenses at the Eagle Gold Mine and failure to contain a significant spill of cyanide processing solution in 2021 used for the heap leach facility.

The charges were filed in court on May 4 and the company made its first court appearance on May 25 in the village of Mayo near the mine. The next court appearance for Victoria will be this July in Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital.

The series of water storage violations occurred between May 2021 and July 2022 and the company’s alleged failure to “implement the portion of the approved Heap Leach Facility Operations Maintenance and Surveillance Manual” specified in the court documents occurred between April and July last year. This required Victoria to cease water transfers into that facility.

In an interview with Mugglehead, Victoria Gold’s CEO John McConnell expressed his disappointment over the matters being brought to court. He said the spill was dealt with in a timely efficient manner and that Victoria Gold and the Eagle Mine had never dealt with charges like this in their history.

“It was a spill that we recognized very quickly and then stopped the flow. All of the material that was impacted was moved into the containment area within the first 12 hours after and we went back a few days later, sampled and found no evidence of cyanide,” said McConnell.

“So quite the successful cleanup, no long-term impact on the environment,” he added.

Read more: NevGold forms B.C. subsidiary to focus on Ptarmigan

Read more: NevGold intercepts quartz veining on the surface of Nutmeg Mountain

With regard to the water storage violations, McConnell said the company knowingly violated the conditions of its license for environmental reasons. He said everything was done following conversations with government regulators who didn’t have any better suggestions when the company told them what it was going to do.

“What we were doing was because we didn’t have a water treatment facility at the time. So if we had excess water, we would store it and we were storing more than we were allowed in our permits,” said McConnell.

“So yes, we broke the rules, but we did it to protect the environment.”

Lastly, he said that he hoped the matter could ultimately be resolved out of the courtroom. He described the charges as “a bit draconian” and that he hoped the government would drop them and save everyone time and money involved with court proceedings.

A government representative for Yukon’s major mines also said enforcement of this variety can be implemented by Yukon’s natural resource officers but it is usually only resorted to once other educational and corrective actions have been exhausted.

“It’s a very modern, professionally run mining operation and the real fact is no one was hurt and there was no impact on the environment,” said McConnell.

The Eagle Gold Mine is expected to generate 2.4 million ounces during its lifespan with resources being depleted at the project by September 2030.

Victoria Gold reported a 50 per increase in gold sales during Q1 this year and expects to generate between 160,000-180,000 ounces in 2023.

The company’s shares dropped by 0.95 per cent Tuesday to $8.36 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


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