BUSINESS

Unstable mineral markets blamed for shutdown of underground Yukon mine

01/26/2015 05:41 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT
WHITEHORSE - The shutdown of an underground Yukon mine and layoff of workers is being blamed by its owner on unstable mineral markets.

The Yukon Zinc Corp. (TSXV:YZC) has operated an underground mine producing zinc, silver-copper, lead, and gold about 282 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse.

Company spokesman Alex Wu says operations at the Wolverine Mine were terminated on Thursday because of instability in the mineral markets, particularly the price of silver.

Wu says he can't confirm exactly how many employees were affected and calls the shutdown only temporary.

Yukon Zinc announced there were 365 people employed by the company and its contractors in April 2013, but by June announced it was laying off 30 per cent of its employees because of economic conditions, although it recalled some of the workers.

Mayor Richard Durocher of nearby Watson Lake says he believes about 100 employees worked at the mine on any given day, as the mine was on a shift schedule of two weeks in and two weeks out.

"We will see what the situation is in the next couple of months and make a decision to see if there is an opportunity to start up or keep it closed for a bit longer," says Wu.

"We were trying to keep it going longer, but it is down to the point where it is pretty difficult to keep things going."

(Whitehorse Star)