Paving the way to success
“Leading the way in the new Yukon Gold Rush” is the tagline found on Taku Gold’s website. Since 2005, the gold exploration and resource company has launched several successful gold exploration programs in northern British Columbia and the Yukon. Taku Gold has been particularly successful in what is known as the “White Gold District”, a region in the Yukon that is rich with gold deposits. It’s been dubbed the site of the new Yukon Gold Rush.
Originally working solely on the Tag Gold and Silver project in British Columbia in 2009, Taku Gold looked into Dawson City as a good place to explore for gold.
“We got word pretty much before everyone else did that there was something exciting happening in the Yukon,” says Zachery Dingsdale, Founder and CEO of Taku Gold.
Up until three years ago, the Yukon had experienced very little modern exploration. Over the past century, 20 million ounces of placer gold were taken out of creeks and streams during and after the Klondike Gold Rush. However, Dingsdale says during the Klondike Gold Rush, no one ever found the hard rock source from where the placer gold originated.
“About fifteen years ago, a prospector named Shawn Ryan came up with the idea that he believed he knew the source of these gold deposits and how to find the source,” explains Dingsdale.
Shawn Ryan, Dingsdale says, used soil sampling to determine the gold source. Soil sampling is an effective method in this area because the Yukon was never glaciated, which means glaciers never had a chance to scrape the gravel and dump it hundreds of miles away. A soil sample in this region of the Yukon provides a direct representation of the weathered bedrock right below it.
“So if you find the gold in the soil, you drill right below it and you should find gold in the hard rock,” says Dingsdale.
Who is Shawn Ryan?
Prospector Shawn Ryan changed the face of Yukon mining. In 1997, he began an intensive 12-year surveying program in the former sites of the Klondike Gold Rush, which included 70 000 soil samples. Ryan’s prediction proved to be correct. In the past 3 years, his properties’ resources have demonstrated more than 1.4 million ounces of gold.
So it’s no wonder Taku Gold has decided to model its exploration and surveying tactics after Ryan. After two years of rigorous exploration in the Dawson area using Shawn Ryan methodology, Taku Gold discovered 16 separate gold zones to date.
As for strategies, Dingsdale says Taku Gold uses the same tried, tested and true Sean Ryan-style of exploration: “It’s just soil sampling, trenching, drilling and discovery. It’s pretty astonishing that in this day and age, in Canada, you can make so many big gold discoveries.”
The Rosebute Property
Although Taku Gold still has the Tag Gold Deposit in British Columbia, they are really focused on the White Gold district in the Yukon right now. Out of their nine properties in the Yukon, their land totals about 66 000 hectares.
“We’ve been able to focus in on one property in particular, and that’s the Rosebute Property,” Dingsdale says. The Rosebute Property has three gold zones over 1.8 kilometres and stretches 11 260 hectares.
The discovery at Rosebute will definitely keep Taku Gold busy in coming years; it is already at the top of Taku Gold’s agenda for next season.
Dingsdale says they drilled the property earlier this year and actually hit 23.5 meters of one gram per tonne gold earlier. “We conducted a soil sampling grid and we just came up with what looks like one of the biggest new discoveries in the area. It’s a huge high grade gold in soil anomaly measuring one kilometre long by half a kilometre wide called Hudbay. Our next step is to systematically drill this new discovery” he says.
Advantages of the Yukon
Despite the costs of working in a remote region, mining in the Yukon itself has its perks and advantages: “We’re in a very mining-friendly jurisdiction,” notes Dingsdale. The exploration season usually takes place from the mid-May to mid-October each year. However, once a company gets up to the mining stage, they can mine year-round.
Taku Gold’s first-hand knowledge of the area allowed them to prepare for any challenges. All of their properties are road accessible and only an hour drive from downtown Dawson. This cuts down on exploration costs a lot, as they are not completely dependent on helicopter-support. Taku Gold has spent around $11 million in exploration in the Yukon and $4.2 million in British Columbia.
Another advantage of working in the Yukon is permitting, which Dingsdale describes as one of the best in Canada. Permits are sent to YESAB, or the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, who subsequently deal with all the related parties. This “one-stop shop” process is convenient for many companies.
“Yukon is a safe place to spend your money in exploration, based on this alone,” says Dingsdale.
The next step
“We’re entering a very important stage,” says Dingsdale. “It takes a lot of time and effort to get to the point where we’re at right now and we’re at the most exciting stage in our development.”
“It looks like Taku Gold is on the verge of being the next big discoverer in this White Gold District.”