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Yukon Juniors Look for New Discoveries, Try to Weather Drought in Capital

The Yukon is ripe for mining investment, according to some of the biggest stakeholders in the area.

Major miners making moves in the Yukon

“I think over the past five years or so, we’ve been seeing a lot of bigger companies take stakes,” he said. “This is kind of like a slower-burn gold rush of majors looking for attractive long-term and stable places to invest capital.”

A relative newcomer, Snowline has quickly become a Yukon darling, boasting a market valuation of nearly C$700 million. Shares of the company have gone up in value by 47.65 percent since the year started to reach C$4.71.

The company has been pushing forward at its two landmark findings, Jupiter and Valley.

Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) is one large miner that’s making moves in the Yukon. The company recently acquired ATAC Resources and has spun some of ATAC’s assets out into a new vehicle called Cascadia Minerals (TSXV:CAM).

“It’s in a region that, frankly, has just been underexplored,’ he said.

Copper CEO shares view on market sentiment

“What you’ve seen over the past couple of years is that even though China hasn’t grown as quickly as people thought … the price of copper has remained resilient,” he said, pointing to copper’s role in the energy transition.

Western Copper and Gold has received attention this year thanks to a C$21.3 million strategic investment from Mitsubishi Materials (TSE:5711). The firm also received a C$2.3 million share subscription from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO).

Last year, S&P Global Market Intelligence projected that copper demand will double over the next decade and beyond. This prediction goes hand-in-hand with an expected shortage for the metal.

“Copper supply shortfalls begin in 2025 and last through most of the following decade. Substitution and recycling will not be enough to meet the demands of EVs, power infrastructure, and renewable generation,” the report indicates.

Funding still a challenge for juniors

During the tour it was clear that Yukon companies see a revitalization happening in the territory. Virtually all companies spoke about new technology, or areas never explored to the same degree as they are being investigated today.

However, it’s been a difficult year for junior miners. Capital has been difficult to come by and painful to acquire at times.

“You’re not seeing investor enthusiasm flow back into the space, even at the scale of majors, and especially not at the scale of juniors,” he said, adding that well-financed juniors are in an advantageous position right now.

For his part, Carne commented that while retail investors are excited by drill discoveries, they don’t seem to be motivated by early stage exploration. For that reason, Cascadia is looking to institutions as it plans drilling.

“Our thought right now is to try and get the resources we need in place from the institutional side to be able to get into that drill program as fast as possible,” he explained.

Richard Carleton, CEO of the Canadian Securities Exchange, a home for many juniors, told the Northern Miner there’s actually been an increase in mining listings so far in 2023 and in money raised this year.

“The challenge is that there’s just not been much reaction from the marketplace,” the exchange executive said.

Investor takeaway

It’s been a tough go for some juniors so far in 2023 due to challenges with capital, but Yukon companies are rallying around new discoveries and investment interest generated by players at the top of the industry.

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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