Western Copper and Gold (TSX:WRN; NYSE: WRN) has updated the study of the potential economic impact of the Casino copper-gold-molybdenum mine. The project is located in west central Yukon, 200 km northwest of Whitehorse. The report was prepared by MNP LLP based on the August 2022 Casino feasibility study.
The report concludes that development of the Casino mine will have significant economic effects for both Canada and the Yukon. The project is estimated to contribute $44.3 billion to this country’s gross domestic product (GDP). An operating mine would create 132,280 full-time-equivalent positions and generate $12.8 billion in wages and salaries over the life of the project.
During construction, 25,580 full-time-equivalent jobs will be created, $3.6 billion will flow to the Canadian economy, and $1.7 billion to the territorial economy.
During each of its 27 years of operation, Casino is expected to contribute $1.3 billion to Yukon's economy. Operation of the mine is estimated to contribute $1.5 billion to Canada's GDP annually while creating 3,880 full-time-equivalent jobs and generating $391 million in wages and salaries across Canada.
The Casino project lies within the traditional territory of the Selkirk First Nation. The proposed water supply pipeline will cross the traditional territory of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. The Kluane First Nation’s traditional territory is located downstream of the proposed mine, and the project is within the asserted traditional territory of the White River First Nation.
Development at Casino is hotly debated. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) proposed this week that an in-person review process be done for the project to address concerns about the proposed tailings management facility and the effects of mining on the resident Klaza caribou herd.
Rio Tinto Canada made a strategic $25.6-million investment in Western in May 2021 when it purchased 8% of the company’s common shares. Rio has become an active exploration partner as Western continues to guide Casino though the permitting process.Western’s operating subsidiary, Casino Mining, posts details of the project on www.CasinoMining.com. An open pit mine, conventional mill, and heap leach is proposed.
I hope the special interest groups can be able to find common ground to take projects like this forward. Responsible development is how we will continue to enjoy a 21st century lifestyle.