Gladiator has been granted a Class 1 Exploration Permit and is in the process of applying for an additional Class 3 Exploration Permit. Please refer to our Community Engagement Policy to learn more about this process and how we plan to consult with the local Whitehorse Community, or contact our Community Engagement Director, Leneath Yanson, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gladiator Metals is a Canadian mineral exploration company focused on the geological evaluation of the Whitehorse Copper Project, a 35km X 5km land package comprising 314 contiguous mineral claims along the mineral-rich Whitehorse Copper Belt. Several prospects at the Whitehorse Copper Project have a history of high-grade copper production and, although exploration drilling has been an ongoing process since mine closure in 1982, the land has previously never been explored using modern technologies.
Through a highly regulated and permitted exploration process, Gladiator’s objective is to better define and understand the mineralogy of the Whitehorse Copper Project, and to determine if target areas can be developed into a safe, environmentally and socially responsible source of copper that will serve Canada’s (and potentially the world’s) transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Mining is the extraction of minerals or other geological materials from the earth for the purpose of commercial production. Before mining occurs, mineral exploration, which is the process of discovering and defining a new ore deposit, is conducted. Geologists, who are scientists trained in studying and identifying rocks and rock formations, go into the field to look for certain minerals, and map their distribution.
Geologists use techniques that help map rock and mineral distribution by detecting certain fundamental rock properties and characteristics, such as magnetism. Modern technologies have enabled geologists to detect these rock properties with much less environmental disturbance than in the past. For example, geologists can now use remote sensing methods such as aerial photography, satellite imagery and drones, resulting in much less land disturbance.
Geologists also collect rock and soil samples in the field, both on the surface and via subsurface drilling. The geologists study the mineralogy and geochemistry of the surface and subsurface samples to define the distribution of the mineralization in three dimensions.
Drill samples are also sent to a lab for geochemical analysis (or assay). This allows the geologists to develop an estimate of how much metal is contained within a mineral deposit. If the deposit is deemed economic, it can be called an ore deposit.
Exploration activities, especially if they lead to the discovery of a significant mineral deposit, can bring substantial economic benefits to the local and regional economy. This includes job creation, increased economic activity, additional tax revenues and royalties, and improvements in the local infrastructure.
Many cities and communities across Canada today were established as a result of early mining and prospecting activity – including Whitehorse, which was founded in 1896 in response to the wave of prospectors that arrived during the Klondike Gold Rush. The population of Whitehorse began to increase in the early 1900s when copper was first discovered at what is now known as the Whitehorse Copper Belt, and it has been largely supported by mining ever since. The City of Whitehorse officially incorporated in 1950, and subsequently expanded its municipal boundaries in the 1970s to include active mining along the Whitehorse Copper Belt in order to capitalize on the economic benefits that mining can bring, such as additional tax revenues and royalties1.
1) Jane of All Trades Consulting, 2016
The Whitehorse Copper Project contains several known copper ore deposits, some of which were previously the site of commercial mining operations between 1967 and 1982 (collectively known as “Whitehorse Copper”).
Whitehorse Copper was operated by Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Ltd (now known as HudBay Minerals) and produced ~10 metric tons of copper, as well as gold and silver credits, during its operating years. The mine was eventually shut down in 1982 due to depressed copper prices, and the land that comprises the Whitehorse Copper Project has never been explored using modern technologies – until now.
Through analysis of historic and new drill core samples, Gladiator has confirmed the existence of several areas of high-grade copper mineralization as well as the occurrence of molybdenum, cobalt, silver and gold at the Whitehorse Copper Project. By further examining the geological makeup of this mineralization, Gladiator will be able to determine if mining at the site is economically viable.
All industrial, economic, and recreational activity, including residential and commercial construction, infrastructure development, and tourism – has an impact on the land both environmentally and socially. Responsible mineral exploration and mining near urban areas can bring a blend of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and community development. Achieving these benefits requires effective communication and collaboration between exploration/mining companies, governments, and local communities.
Any mining at the Whitehorse Copper Project would only occur after rigorous reporting and permitting including third-party environmental, social, and economic impact studies. Should mineral exploration eventually lead to proof that the area has the potential to be economic for mining, then the legislated feasibility process will properly assess any proposed land use changes.
Rigorous Environmental, Health and Safety standards and regulations are in place at the Whitehorse Copper Project. No toxins are used during mineral exploration, and baseline and ongoing monitoring of water wells will be implemented as exploration increases. Watershed data is available and used during exploration planning, and there are no private wells within the work areas of the Whitehorse Copper Project.
Planned mineral exploration activities by Gladiator pose no risk to water wells. Whitehorse Copper Project exploration activities are planned well away from residential homes (typically over a kilometre away) and follow strict environmental regulations and industry standards that prevent contamination of waterways. No toxic additives or chemicals are used during drilling. Watershed data is available and used during exploration planning. There are no private or domestic wells within the current work areas of the Whitehorse Copper Project.
Currently, Gladiator's exploration activities do not require the injection of water or other materials into drill holes. Gladiator's exploration activities are limited to the drilling of 6-inch holes into bedrock for extraction and further geological analysis.
Diamond drilling requires the use of natural surface water during operation (to cool and lubricate the rods downhole). Any water that comes back to surface will have some amount of natural rock flour/chips formed from the break-up of local rock during drilling. If additives are required to further lubricate the rock/drill rods, very small amounts of environmentally safe materials such as linseed soap or bentonite (clay) powder are used. All return water is trapped in a sump to naturally filter out any suspended particles before being returned to the area. Additionally, Gladiator has implemented the use of a technologically advanced centrifuge to recycle water and capture most drill cuttings, decreasing the requirement of additives and reducing the amount of water entering the sump.
It is important to note that the area comprising the Whitehorse Copper Project has been intensely drilled since the 1960s, and there has been no effect on water quality from that work. Due to the historically producing Whitehorse Copper mine that existed in the area between the 1960s - 1980s there is roughly 40km of underground development, including roadways. During the past 40 years of water monitoring downstream from the mine site, no contaminants have ever been picked up. Gladiator is also engaged in regular discussions with Yukon Water and the Yukon Geological Survey with regard to the ongoing monitoring of well water in and around the Whitehorse area.
Gladiator has implemented several procedures to reduce excessive noise, for example replacing metal tools with rubber alternatives and restricting equipment use to daytime hours. Gladiator has also commissioned a third-party acoustics monitoring survey, through Whitehorse-based Tetra Tech, to better understand and quantify active noise levels.
Results of initial acoustics monitoring at Cowley Park indicate that noise from diamond drilling drops below background levels (40dB) within 100 metres from active operations, and was consistently below 40dB by the monitoring station located 340 metres from active operations. No exploration activities are planned within 340 metres of permanent dwellings (private/residential areas). The majority of permanent dwellings are over 1.5 kilometres from planned work areas, with the closest permanent dwelling area (Cowley Creek) located over 900 metres from the Cowley Park work area.
The opportunity for and/or development/operation of responsible mining near Whitehorse has the possibility to increase property values. This would be related to the increased demand for housing due to additional, higher-paying employment and economic activity as well as the modern development of local infrastructure.
The community is encouraged to attend Gladiator community events for more information and to reach out at any time with questions or concerns regarding planned exploration activities in the Whitehorse area.
More information regarding Gladiator’s activities within the Whitehorse Community can be found by visiting the Community section of our website, at https://www.gladiatormetals.com/community.
Should the copper mineralization at the Whitehorse Copper Project prove economically viable for mining, the next step would be to work with stakeholders – including Whitehorse residents and local First Nations – to determine if mining at the site is also viable from an environmental and social standpoint.
Gladiator respectfully acknowledges that the Whitehorse Copper Project occupies the traditional land of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council and borders the traditional lands of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. Gladiator is in active engagement in consultation with these communities.
The Whitehorse Copper Project contains a collection of high-grade, low tonnage copper deposits (as well as additional molybdenum and cobalt credits) that could be individually mined both underground (with very little surface disturbance) and/or open pit.
Because of its high-grade of copper per tonne of host rock, the Whitehorse Copper Project has the potential to be an environmentally and socially responsible mine due to the existing infrastructure, available skilled labour-force, and strict federal and territorial regulations, as well as the fact that fact that copper, molybdenum and cobalt are considered critical metals that are key to modern technologies and green initiatives, including renewable energy infrastructure.
A low tonnage (10 million tonnes) operating mine has the potential to introduce billions of responsible dollars to the Yukon economy for decades.
Copper is one of the most widely used metals in the world, because it is an excellent conductor of electricity. We use copper daily to heat the homes we live in, to provide electricity for our lights and appliances, and to power the cars we drive.
But one of the biggest roles that copper will play in the coming years will be to help the world transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner, greener energy sources. Copper is required to manufacture and power the electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines and rechargeable batteries that will help us make the transition to renewable energy. For example:
Electric cars contain on average 3.5X more copper than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars1. Electrification will also include larger vehicles such as passenger vehicles, delivery vans, and trains - electric buses contain 11X - 16X more copper than ICE passenger vehicles1.
Around 3.5 kg of copper is used to make one EV charging station2 – copper is used in the cables, charging units, and wiring in electric panels.
Solar panels and wind turbines require 4X - 6X more copper per megawatt of energy compared to energy derived from fossil fuels3.
Grid energy storage systems require up to 4 tons of copper per megawatt of energy4.
Copper is also a key component of the global 5G buildout, which will help bring more people in remote communities around the world the online. The deployment of 5G requires fibre and copper cable to connect equipment located within a building. Several of the world’s largest economies are rolling out 5G technology, including China, India, and the EU.
Due to driving forces such as the energy transition and population growth, the world is facing a rapid surge in copper demand over the next decade – at the same time that global copper supply is facing numerous challenges. Existing copper mines around the world are experiencing declines in both copper reserves and ore grades, and many are expected to go out of commission within the next decade. Globally, copper ore grades at existing mines have fallen by 40% since 1990.1
Unless major investments are made into finding and developing new copper deposits, the energy transition will not be possible. Bloomberg NEF forecasts that copper miners will need to double the amount of global copper production in the next 20 years – from the current 20 Mt per year to 40 Mt per year – just to meet the demand for a 30% penetration rate of electric vehicles2.
Research analyst firm Roskill forecasts total annual copper consumption will exceed 43 million tonnes by 2035 – nearly double the current annual global output of 23 million tonnes3. Meanwhile a lack of investment into exploration mining over the past several decades has left the sector severely under-funded. An estimated USD $23 billion per year of investment is now needed to find new copper mines in order to meet rising global demand4.
1) Wood Mackenzie, 2022
2) Bloomberg NEF, 2022
3) Roskill, 2019
4) Wood Mackenzie, 2022
Due to a decrease in investment and a lack of support for domestic mining activity over the past several decades, Canada and its trade allies such as the United States are in a position where they must import copper and other critical minerals from nations that are less environmentally and socially responsible. Importing these minerals from overseas puts Canada at a disadvantage from an economic and environmental standpoint, and leaves us vulnerable to other nations’ political and economic agendas.
As Canada has committed to reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050 as part of the Paris Agreement, it has become clear that to reach these targets, we will need to secure domestic national supplies of the materials needed to build the lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, charging stations, solar panels, wind turbines, and grid energy storage systems that will support electrification.
In 2022 the Government of Canada unveiled its Critical Minerals Strategy as part of an initiative to become a global supplier of critical minerals, batteries, and clean digital technologies. The strategy, which is backed by up to $3.8 Billion in funding, aims to boost Canada’s production of 31 critical minerals that are considered vital to the electrification movement and the global transition to cleaner technologies. Six of these minerals will be prioritized – including copper and cobalt.
With respect to mining, under the Critical Minerals Strategy current permitting processes will be reviewed with the goal of reducing the time required to commission mining projects and bring them into production. The strategy will also ensure early and equitable consultation with First Nations communities.
Canada is considered one of the most environmentally and socially responsible mining jurisdictions in the world. Mining regulations in Canada have been revised over the past several decades to better manage and mitigate the potential negative environmental and social impacts associated with mining. Canada now has strict procedural regulations and responsibilities in place for mining activities, and exploration and mining companies are continuously exceeding industry standards in social and environmental advancement and compliance.
Incentives are also being offered through new government policies. In 2023 the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund was launched in Canada to provide financial assistance to mining companies that implement strategies to reduce their carbon emissions, for example by using existing electrical grids and electric vehicles where possible. Canada has one of the world’s cleanest electricity grids, with 82% of our power coming from renewable or non-emitting sources1. This means Canada has the potential to be a much lower emissions mining jurisdiction than competing nations. Additionally, regulations have been introduced to ensure that mining companies engage in early and equitable consultation with First Nations before any mining activity takes place.
With respect to Gladiator, responsible mining of available critical metals (including copper, molybdenum, and cobalt as found at the Whitehorse Copper Project), in a previously mined area with excellent access to new technologies and existing infrastructure such as roads, power, rails, ports, and a skilled labour force, can be an environmentally, economically, and socially responsible endeavor.
1) Mining Association of Canada, 2023 Report
The exploration and mining industries have made significant advancements in technology over the past two decades, allowing for more efficient and less invasive methods. These advancements can reduce the physical and environmental footprint of mining activities.
Before mine construction or production can take place in Canada, the following milestones must occur, along with ongoing compliance with stringent federal and territorial legal and regulatory requirements, including health, safety, and environmental protocols:
Mineral exploration activities must indicate the quantity of minerals/metals is great enough for economic benefit through a detailed Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE).
Follow-up studies, including engagement and consultation with stakeholders, must indicate that the MRE is also economically viable from an environmental, social, and infrastructure standpoint through various comprehensive feasibility studies (Scoping Studies, Environmental Impact Assessments, Preliminary Feasibility Studies, and detailed Feasibility Studies).
Successful application and approval for all necessary development and mining operations permits (following positive feasibility studies).
Engagement and consultation with local First Nations and affected communities must take place, and concerns about potential mining activities must be considered by policy-makers and provincial and federal regulators before a mining operation can go ahead.
Historical claims under the Quartz Mining Act provide a legal framework for exploration and other mining activities, including potential development. Key advantages of continued exploration and mining in Whitehorse include:
1) Enhanced Geological Understanding and Land Use Opportunities:
Data collected during exploration contributes to a better understanding of the region’s geology, potentially opening up new opportunities for land use (including further mineral exploration and/or mining).
Integration of exploration and mining activities with urban planning can minimize disruption to the urban environment, and in some cases, be part of urban regeneration projects (especially in repurposing post-industrial sites).
Maintenance of existing infrastructure and post-operation repurposing of infrastructure (e.g., Copper Haul Road becomes the Trans-Canada Trail)
2) Economic Development and Diversification:
Exploration and mining activities provide both direct and indirect employment in mining and supporting sectors. Additionally, the presence of local skilled labour can support more modern, high-tech industries.
Mining activities also diversify the local and regional economy, adding resiliency to an economy otherwise dependent on a limited number of industries.
Exploration/mining companies’ investment in infrastructure and involvement in local community programs can ensure mutual benefits from mining activities and operations.
Rising asset values from increased demand for housing, retail and commercial goods and services and associated businesses and property.
3) Strict Environmental and Community Standards:
Modern mining activities are governed by stringent environmental regulations and reporting, requiring comprehensive environmental impact assessments and standards to minimize environmental damage, like pollution and land degradation.
Transparent compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks, including obtaining necessary permits, post-operations reclamation/rehabilitation, and ensuring transparent operations, is crucial for exploration/mining companies.
Exploration/mining companies are expected to focus on community engagement and relations, continuously contributing to local community initiatives and development.
4) Reduced Environmental Footprint:
The Whitehorse Copper Belt is a collection of low tonnage, high-grade copper deposits, most of which would likely be mined underground (therefore reducing the surface footprint) rather than open pit, as was done at the site in the past. These types of operations would be comparable to one-third the area of a local golf course.
Access to existing infrastructure, such as modern roads and grid hydro power, facilitates lower operational costs and reduces environmental impacts like land disturbance and emissions.
Technological advancements in the exploration and mining industry allow for more efficient and less invasive mining methods, reducing overall emissions and environmental footprint.
5) Contribution to Rising National and Global Demand for Copper and other Critical Minerals:
The increasing demand for copper is best met by responsible mining operations in safe and stable jurisdictions such as Whitehorse.
By-products of mining copper, such as the critical minerals molybdenum and cobalt found at the Whitehorse Copper Project, could lead to more efficient utilization of resources, maximizing value and reducing overall environmental impacts.
Additionally, Copper is a critical mineral that also retains its properties during recycling, extending resource use and minimizing waste.
If and when mineral exploration proves that mining could be feasible at the Whitehorse Copper Project, ESG economics should further help to mitigate land use conflict where not currently zoned for mining.
All development, whether it be industrial, residential, or recreational, impacts the surrounding land and its people. In Canada today, mining is more strictly regulated than most other industries. After a mine has been constructed, and the minerals have been extracted (which both provides significant direct and indirect job opportunities for years to decades), mining operations can also return reclaimed land to future generations for various uses, such as housing, forestry, recreation, and commercial development.
If mining is NOT deemed economically viable after mineral exploration takes place, residents of the local community will have been the social and economic beneficiaries of years, and sometimes decades, of a viable, dynamic industry. The skill and training that workers acquire while in direct employment are highly-valued by other industries. The spin-off benefits to other sectors (retail, commerce, service) during exploration are also significant. In the end, the increased chemical and geological knowledge of the land is permanent and can guide future land use decisions, such as for commercial and / or residential housing development.