High gold prices, land use agreement spark interest in Yakoun gold

  • Feb. 15, 2008 5:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–With record high gold prices, the deposit near Port Clements has been sparkling in the eyes of Taseko Mines Limited ever since the signing of the Strategic Land Use Plan. The deposit, known as the Harmony Gold project to the Vancouver-based company, falls into an area south of Port Clements designated for mineral development under the agreement signed by the province and the Haida in December. Brian Bergot, in investor services with the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company, says his company has done no work on the Graham Island deposit to date, but reviews of historic engineering and metallurgical work is underway. “If we were to pursue the project there would be environmental permitting and work with First Nations to do,” he says. Mr. Bergot said that prior to Taseko taking over the three million ounce gold deposit in 2001 from Misty Mountain Gold, all exploration work had been completed. “It’s a very nice project that’s been sitting idle for a number of years,” he said. Gold prices are at $900 an ounce, an all time high, says Mr. Bergot. In the 1990s, which was around the time the project was dropped, gold prices were as low as $300 an ounce. Mr. Bergot says the two main challenges for developing the gold deposit have been environmental and First Nations concerns. He believes technological advances may lessen the environmental concerns, but its too early to say what type of mining may be used. According to the Observer archives, (by way of Frank Collison’s article in the book, Yakoun – River of Life), gold was first discovered in the Yakoun Valley by a MacMillan Bloedel faller in 1970. Development began in 1980, after the faller sold his claim, and various owners worked on the mine throughout the 1980s and 90s. Taseko also owns an operating copper molybdenum mine and has been focusing resources on a undeveloped gold-copper deposit, both of which are near Williams Lake.