Sixty North to Resume Gold Mining at Mon Mine in the Northwest Territories

Almost two decades have passed since the closing of the last gold mine in Yellowknife. Sixty North Gold Mining hopes to revive the industry.

The junior mining company said it plans to restart gold mining soon at the Mon Mine, located about 45 kilometers north of Yellowknife. Previously owned by Cominco, the small underground mine produced about 15,000 ounces of gold between 1989 and 1997 before closing due to falling gold prices.

David Webb, president and chief executive of Sixty North, said his company had been licensed to mine and mill 100 tonnes per day at the site and planned to go into production this summer.

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“We plan to bring in the crew just about anytime,” he said. “We will contact our captain and see when they can start taking off and landing on Back Bay.”

Webb said the smallholding was the same size as Con Mine when it started in 1936 and Discovery Mine in 1949.

The mine could remain open for years, Webb said, because it currently reaches only a fraction of the total depth of the Discovery and Con mines. He said it’s too early to project a lifespan.

A map shows the location of the Mon Mine north of Yellowknife.
David Webb, President and CEO of Sixty North Gold Mining. Photo: Sixty Gold Mines of the North

“Gold development in Yellowknife has always been small operations and then larger ones,” he explained.

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“We are like all the other gold mines in Yellowknife, which have grown over time to become big.

Webb said his company is currently the only one licensed to mine for gold in the Northwest Territories. He hopes the operation will help revive gold mining in Yellowknife.

“Once you have an established operation, other projects in the region expand their exploration,” he said. “We can now demonstrate that we can exploit them and become economical. Without any mines in the area, it is a very difficult obstacle to cross.

Other gold exploration companies in Yellowknife include Gold Terra, which acquired the option to purchase the former Con Mine, and Gold Mining Inc.

The Mon gold property consists of 11 related mining claims and three mining claims covering 622 hectares.

Sixty North constructed a winter road to the site in 2021 to transport mining equipment, camp and bulk supplies.

This year, the company plans to expand underground development and begin mining. Webb said if all goes according to plan, the company will bring in a mill in 2023 to start processing rock and casting gold bricks.

While gold mining has a long history in Yellowknife, so does its legacy of toxicity.

For many people in the Northwest Territories, gold mining is reminiscent of the lasting environmental and social impacts of Giant Mine, where the gold roasting process emitted highly toxic arsenic trioxide dust. . Today, 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide remain stored in underground chambers at the site.

While the mine closed in 2002, full site remediation only began last year and will cost at least $1 billion.

Webb said environmental regulations had improved since Giant Mine opened in 1948. He said Sixty North’s operation would not involve gold roasting and the company’s mill would use gravity and flotation to recover gold, rather than cyanide.

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