Slowdown at Minto copper mine poses challenges to Canada’s Yukon territory

A new report by the Conference Board of Canada states that the Yukon’s economy is facing the bleakest near-term outlook in the country.

A slowdown in production at Capstone Mining Corporation’s Minto copper mine means that the territory will have no large-scale mining operations by mid-2017. “The slump in mineral and metal prices and difficulty in getting financing have led to mine shutdowns and new developments being put on indefinite hold,” the document reads.

The board expects big declines for the territory in the next couple of years, with its GDP falling 7.7% in 2017 and 3.1% in 2018.

By 2020, however, the Yukon shall see some light. Recognizing that the mining sector is cyclical, the research firm states: "As commodity prices recover, new mines (especially gold operations, such as the Coffee project) are expected to come on line and boost Yukon’s outlook."

Copper futures started to move higher in mid-September, with the December contract gaining 2.55%, closing at $2.155 a pound.

However, some analysts are unconvinced that better times lie ahead as inventories climb and supply grows strongly.