Summary of GoldCorp’s Whitehorse Open House With Q/A

*Q/A at end of article*

Gold Corp Whitehorse Open House

Gold Corp Whitehorse Open House

YukonFreePress attended a special presentation hosted by Goldcorp inc. this past Friday, November 18 at the old fire hall in Whitehorse. This presentation was intended as a greeting and overview of Goldcorp’s recent acquisition of Kaminak Gold Corporation and its Coffee Creek gold mining operation this past summer. This new acquisition represents Goldcorp’s first expansion into the Yukon Territory, so they were naturally excited to hold a conference to show their current operations, as well as their future plans for mining prospects in the Yukon.

Goldcorp is a Vancouver-based gold production company, with a number of operations in Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic as well as joint ventures in Argentina and Chile. Their primary productions are gold, slver, zinc, lead & copper; and they currently have a roster of roughly 15,800 members worldwide. Goldcorp is still a relative newcomer to the mining industry, born through the acquisition and combination of multiple smaller companies working to better manage their mines. For such a young company, Goldcorp has already had proven experience in several types of mining operations; consisting mainly of open pit or heap leach mines, as well as underground mining. Goldcorp currently has several operational mines in Ontario, including Red Lake, Porcupine, Musselwhite, as well as its newest mine at Eleonore, Northern Quebec, which only just came online in January of 2015.

Buddy Crill, The Kaminak Mine general manager, opened the reception with a summary of Goldcorp’s core values and vision, stating that engaging with the Yukon’s communities, contractors and employees is key to creating sustainable value. He also referred to Goldcorp’s somewhat tarnished reputation, since the company had previously been accused of harming the environment by advocacy groups and activists, and a study in 2010 also accused the company of human rights violations, though these allegations were refuted by the company and none of them had been proven in a court of law.

Crill went on to speak highly about Goldcorp’s internally developed code of conduct book: the Sustainability Excellence Management System. This is basically a company rulebook which compiles all of the protocols, regulations, standards and international codes they must adhere to into one reference book. Among other things, it also contains guidelines for things like transport of dangerous materials, water management and local procurement and employment. Having all of these factors in one set of guidelines basically ensures they take concrete steps towards not only accomplishing these factors, but accomplishing them well.

“Coffee Creek is not only about that one project, but trying to set up a level of trust with the Yukon for future business.” said Crill. “We are currently trying to build a core team, with specific job postings around Whitehorse”.

Though the Coffee Gold Project is still currently in the proposal and exploration phases (which consist mainly of environmental and baseline studies, soil sampling and locating resource rich areas) it is also currently awaiting an application from the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB), which will decide whether or not they are allowed to proceed with their expected mine operation. This operation is estimated at approximately 12 years, with an additional 10 year closure period after the expected mine life.

Catherine Tegelberg, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Superintendent was then welcomed to the stage to speak about what Goldcorp has been doing since its expansion to the north. Since Coffee is still in the planning and exploration phase, on-site activities mainly consist of maintaining a camp site of approximately 60 people, as well as doing datacollection on socio-economics and building community relations.

“Trying to understand where we are operating, and attempting to give back to the local communities we work in is crucial, since having a general knowledge of where people live is the basis of building management plans around supplying jobs to local employees.” Tegelberg said. She also detailed an initiative Goldcorp is putting forward to accept proposals for community investment funding projects in the future.

Jennie Gjertsen, Environmental and Permitting Manager was introduced to detail what kind of work Goldcorp is used to, as well as a status update on the studies conducted in Coffee Creek up to this point. These baseline studies began early in 2010 and were greatly expanded in 2014, dedicated to understanding and studying wildlife habits and habitats to properly develop mitigation strategies. There are also 25 monitoring stations that are checked monthly to measure surface water, groundwater, air quality and vegetation to properly gauge potential environmental impacts on the surrounding avian and aquatic wildlife.

The floor then opened to questions, and guests were treated to a special appearance from a representative who spoke on behalf of the Copper Jack family, as well as those who have inhabited the White River region officially since 1885. He thanked Buddy and all those who are interested in gold mining in the Coffee creek area and gave a brief summary of his family history and how they came to the valley in the first place. He claimed that they were very open to do business with Goldcorp, and welcomed them to White River, to which Buddy offered thanks.

As the presentation ended, Goldcorp thanked all those that took the time to attend the presentation and invited anyone to come by their new offices located on Main Street if they had questions. They also made mention that they would be at the 2016 Yukon Geo-science Forum and Trade show for additional details on their current and future prospects.

 

Questions with Buddy Crill:

YFP:    Have you worked this far north before and are aware of potential concerns that go along with operating in the region?

– A lot of the people were working with come from Alaska as well as previous Kaminak employees as well as operations people who have experience in this area.

YFP:    Going forward, what are your top concerns as far as this project goes?

– I think, for this project, what will be the most evaluated thing in the project proposal will be Water and other Geochemistry, making sure that anything we introduce doesn’t have adverse effects on the surrounding ecosystem.

YFP:     As far as the mining environment in the Yukon goes, do you have a medium to long term outlook as to how this project will go?

– Well, taking into account what we paid for Kaminak as well as what we’ve already invested in the project, I don’t think we’ll be making any profit off of this project, unless of course the gold prices go up. Based on our account model we’ll be roughly breaking even. What we’ve done with this project is basically getting established. This mine will get us going and helps fund our explorations and gives us a base of operations to build towards future projects in the Yukon.

YFP:     Well, you seem to have good public relations already from what I’ve seen…

– Well, I hope so, ha ha… There are a lot of great people here in the Yukon, and they seem to understand mining. At the same time, we’re not going to get a free ride, we have to do things right and use the latest technology so that we do things responsibly.

YFP:     It’s great to know you’re taking precautions in your development since your initial assessment. I also noticed in your presentation how you also seem committed to your timeline.

– We’ve got a lot more detailed timelines online as well, but you’re right, getting to be in operation by 2020 is going to be challenging. It’s pretty aggressive scheduling.

YFP:      Over the course of Coffee creek’s development, do you have any opinion of where the price of gold is going?

– Well I hope it goes up haha! But seriously, we can’t depend on hope. so I think this mine is in a very good position. Even if gold goes down, its potential alone from where its situated is still really solid.

YFP:     Just out of curiousity, do you know where the Yukon gold eventually ends up going?

– We end up selling it and it goes on the plane. There are probably people at Goldcorp that know where it goes, but as far as the mine itself is concerned, that’s the last we see of it. It’s out into the world.

YFP:     Well thanks for taking some time to make this presentation, as well as answering some questions with us.

No problem, thanks for showing up and listening to what we had to say…

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