Newmont joins gold 'staking rush' in Canada's once-fabled Yukon

Mon Mar 6, 2017 3:57pm EST
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Newmont Mining (NEM.N: Quote) on Monday became the latest of the world's biggest gold miners to invest in Canada's Yukon territory, the site of a famous gold rush 120 years ago, as miners hunt for rich, new deposits in safe regions.

U.S.-based Newmont, the world's No. 2 gold producer, unveiled an agreement with small explorer Goldstrike Resources (GSR.V: Quote) to spend $39.5 million to explore and develop Goldstrike's Plateau property in the Yukon.

With this deal, Newmont follows moves by rivals Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) last year into the northwestern Canadian territory at a time when gold miners are loosening their purse strings after five years of belt-tightening when bullion prices fell.

"It's a stable mining jurisdiction with high-quality gold prospects," Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said.

Goldcorp, the world's fourth biggest gold producer by ounces, started off the mini-stampede last May when it paid C$520 million ($388 million) for Kaminak Gold Corp and its Yukon-based Coffee gold project. A month later it acquired an almost 20 percent stake in Independence Gold (IGO.V: Quote), which owns a neighboring property.

In December, Agnico Eagle, the world's ninth biggest gold producer, bought a stake in a Yukon-focused miner.

The Klondike region of the Yukon was the center of a stampede of some 100,000 treasure seekers between 1896-1899 after gold was discovered in the area. Fortunes were made but many left empty-handed, with some heading on to Alaska after gold was discovered there in 1899.

(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Tom Brown)