Newmont piles into Yukon with USD$39.5 million earn-in agreement

U.S. gold producer Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) has joined the race to develop a new mine in the Canadian Yukon territory, home to the Yukon gold rush where thousands staked their fortunes back in the late 1800's.

The Denver-based company said on Monday it has signed an earn-in agreement with Yukon-focused explorer Goldstrike Resources (TSXV:GSR), to develop its flagship Plateau property.

With the USD$39.5-million earn-in agreement, Newmont joins rivals Agnico-Eagle (TSX,NYSE:AGM) which in December bought a stake in thousands of mining claims in the White Gold district, and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG, TSX:G), which purchased Kaminak Gold and its Coffee project last May for $520 million, in their pursuit of prospective Yukon gold properties. Goldcorp also paid CAD$1.9 million for a 19.9% share in Independence Gold (TSXV:IGO), which is also exploring the White Gold district, a month later.

Under terms of Monday's agreement, Newmont, the world's second biggest gold producer, can earn up to an 80% share in the Plateau property – described as a "newly discovered gold system consisting of more than 2,000 claims covering 350 square kilometres," through up to $39.5 million in exploration spending, including a feasibility study by 2027. The major gold miner said it expects to boost its exploration expenditure on advanced projects by 22% in 2017, with about two-thirds going to fund more brownfields and greenfields exploration.

“The Plateau agreement strengthens our long-term growth pipeline and leverages our world class exploration capabilities,” said Gary Goldberg, Newmont's president and CEO. “We’ve added more than 125 million ounces of gold reserves by the drill bit over the last 16 years and about three-quarters of our reserves are located in North America and Australia. We will continue to invest in opportunities that combine the best value with the most favorable technical and geopolitical attributes.”

Terrence King, Goldstrike’s president and CEO, highlighted the importance of signing up Newmont, an industry leader, while minimizing dilution to shareholders.

“Goldstrike is now fully funded to move forward and unlock the full potential of the district scale Plateau gold project,” he said in a news release, while Bill Chornobay, Goldstrike’s COO, added:

“Goldstrike will now have the time and resources to advance its plans to optimize value for our shareholders on the 100% owned and drill ready Lucky Strike gold project, located in the heart of the White Gold Camp. We look forward to reporting the results from both Plateau and Lucky Strike on what is shaping up to be our busiest exploration season to date.”