Dams, storage ponds, used to hold contaminated water following Yukon mine landslide

The Department of Energy Mines and Resources in Yukon says contaminated water from a landslide and equipment failure at a territory gold mine is being pumped into storage ponds while the investigation continues into what went wrong.

The latest statement from the Yukon government says the failure at the heap-leach facility at the Victoria Gold Eagle Mine near Mayo on Monday resulted in a slide that spilled outside a containment area at the base of the facility.

It says the company quickly built dams to hold back contaminated water, which is now being pumped into ponds.

Neither the territorial government nor the company have said how much contamination spilled or what the environmental risks are.

The local First Nation has said it’s concerned about “potentially significant and far-reaching environmental impacts.”

gold mine
Victoria Gold says operations have ceased at the Eagle Gold Mine in Yukon. Map courtesy Victoria Gold.

Heap leaching uses chemicals to percolate through crushed ore, allowing it to extract gold, and the company’s website says the Eagle Mine uses a cyanide solution in the process.

Mine operations have stopped while the investigation by Yukon natural resource officers is underway.

“We understand site operators are doing everything possible to prevent further environmental contamination and stabilize the slide area,” the department statement says.

The mine is located nearly 500 kilometres north of Whitehorse and employs approximately 500 people as well as numerous contractors and consultants.

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