With almost C$300 million set to go into mineral exploration in the Yukon in 2012
Despite a rocky junior market, exploration continues apace in the Yukon, which is set to have near record exploration expenditures this year. Natural Resources Canada recently estimated nearly C$300 million would go into mineral exploration in the Yukon during 2012, just a little bit less than last year's C$307 million.
Who is spending the money? Below is an overview of the exploration plans of some of the most prominent Yukon explorers. No favouritism. The list is in alphabetic order. It shows a slew of junior explorers and miners are cashed up and either already drilling or planning to start drilling soon on sizeable exploration programs:
Atac Resources (TSX-V: ATC)
C$20 million in cash.
Focusing on the Rackla Gold project and recently started a 15,000-metre drilling campaign mostly on the Conrad, Osiris, Isis and Isis East targets.
Recent drilling included high-grade gold intercepts over notable strike length with as much as 44 metres @ 4.41 g/t gold at Osiris late last year.
Ethos Gold (TSX-V: ECC)
C$14 million in cash.
To spend C$7.3 million mostly on the Betty gold project.
To drill 16,000 metres following up on extensive surface anomalies, with as much 7.3 g/t gold over 50 metres in a trench last year.
Golden Predator (TSX: GPD)
C$14 million in cash.
Budgets C$10 million for the Brewery Creek project, with drilling ongoing.
Expanding on and defining the Brewery Creek resource: 20 million @ 0.89 g/t gold, indicated, about half of which is in oxide.
Kaminak Gold (TSX-V: KAM)
C$21 million in cash at the end of December and then in May it raised C$5 million.
It plans 50,000 metres of drilling to move toward a first - and much anticipated - resource on the Coffee gold project.
It is drilling gaps and extensions to several structures hosting high-grade gold, as recently reported in these pages.
Monster Mining (TSX-V: MAN)
C$2.4 million in cash.
To drill 2,000 or so metres on the Caribou Hill target on its Keno-Lightning project near Alexco's Bellekeno silver mine.
Last year it hit high grade silver in the Caribou Hill area with 11 of 14 drillholes showing plus 1,000 g/t silver and silver mineralization over 300-metre strike length so far.
Northern Freegold (TSX-V: NFR)
C$4 million in cash at the end of December and it subsequently raised about C$7 million, mostly in flow-through shares.
This year it plans 25,000 metres of drilling, largely to expand on resources.
For example: it plans on testing extensions to the Revenue deposit beyond long gold/copper intercepts that included 305 metres @ 0.47 g/t gold, 3.68 g/t silver, 0.12 percent copper and 0.02 percent moly.
Northern Tiger (TSX-V: NTR)
C$2 million in cash, end of January.
To do follow-up drilling at the 3Ace project, where it recently hit as much as 2.58 g/t gold over 53 metres.
Ryan Gold (TSX-V:RYG)
C$43 million in cash.
To spend C$10 million or so on drilling at the Ida Oro project (6,000 metres) and the Flume project (1,500 metres)
Ida Oro had numerous long intercepts last year with low-grade gold over broad widths - as much as 137 metres @ 0.56 g/t gold. Ryan Gold said it would drill to the south of last year's collars beneath more gold anomalies.
Victoria Gold (TSX-V: VIT)
C$30 million in cash.
Pushing ahead the advanced-stage Eagle Gold project with some 4.8 million ounces gold in resources.
Now in the permitting stage following a feasibility study in which it outlined a 200,000-ounce per year gold mine that would cost about C$400 million to build.
Sees 2015 production.
Exploration notes for a couple Yukon miners:
Alexco Resource (TSX: AXU)
C$37 million in cash.
To spend C$12 million in 2012 on exploration, with 29,000 metres of drilling, much of it beyond the operating Bellekeno silver mine.
Includes some 4,000 metres at Flame & Moth, which has yielded bonanza-grade silver in recent drilling as covered in these pages.
Capstone Mining (TSX: CS)
C$502 million in cash.
To spend C$5 million testing gaps between deposits at the Minto mine, for which it is considering a super-pit.