New Yukon Gold Rush

August 24th, 2011
in econ_news

chilkkot-pass-miners Econintersect:  More than 110 years after the famous gold rush over Chilkoot Pass (pictured) from Alaska into the Yukon basin, there is another Yukon gold rush underway.  Many mining company geologists are hard at work combing the “gold country,” but one private prospector has been busy in this endeavor for over a decade.  His name is Shawn Ryan and, with his active associate, wife Cathy Wood, he has used a combination of modern science and technology along with old fashioned boots on the ground work.

Follow up:


Gold fever is gripping Yukon for the first time in more than a century following a discovery by a penniless and persistent prospector who was determined to find the source of the original Klondike deposits.

Shawn Ryan lived in a tin shack for years before uncovering the so-called White Gold district, not far from the fabled Klondike zones. While his work has yet to result in an operating mine, it has already sparked a record-setting staking rush…

According to the New York Times, Shawn Ryan and his family (Cathy Wood and two children) don’t live in a shack any more, but in a new home in the territorial capital of Whitehorse.  Ryan and Wood hold more than 35,000 filed claims and one of his holdings covers an area larger than Luxemburg.  He says it is still growing and will soon be the size of Samoa.

Ryan has an interesting history as a trapper and as a mushroom picker for international markets.  It was trapping that brought him to the Klondike region of the Yukon basin more than 20 years ago, but it was a lucrative mushroom trade that kept him there.  Lucrative is a relative term because the proceeds were only enough to support living in a tin shack at the end of the paved road system north of Dawson City.

Over the past decade the trapping and mushrooms have all been left behind and Ryan is now a major gold exploration player, having discovered some apparently major deposit claims and selling mining rights options on some of them to mining companies.  The story is very interesting and can be read in the long article at the New York Times.

Ryan and Wood are not alone in the hunt for gold.  Their 35,000+ claims filed pale in comparison to the approximately 170,000 claims filed in 2010 and so far in 2011.  This number is mentioned in a Financial Times article.  Before the recent years’ gold rush the number of claims filed each year had been 10,000 – 15,000.  Of course, in the years since the turn of the century Ryan and Wood were making some of those filings.

Ryan has been recognized for his pioneering prospecting and has been named president of Ryan Gold Corp., a company named after him.  From Yahoo Finance:

The Ryan Gold Corp. (TSX-V:RYG - News) ("Ryan Gold" or the "Company") board of directors and management would like to congratulate Shawn Ryan, the recipient of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Bill Dennis Award for prospecting success. Mr. Ryan has been prospecting in the Yukon for almost fourteen years. In 2004 he identified the anomaly that led Underworld Resources to its White Gold deposit and a subsequent $139-million takeover by Kinross Gold Corporation. Mr. Ryan was also responsible for discovering the Coffee mineralization currently being explored by Kaminak Gold Corporation. Mr. Ryan's efforts and prospecting success have had a significant impact on exploration in the Yukon, stimulating renewed unprecedented exploration activity in the region.

As previously announced in its February 16, 2011 press release, the Company signed a letter of agreement (the "Agreement") to purchase 50 properties, comprising approximately 6,631 Quartz Claims, located throughout the Yukon Territory, from Shawn Ryan and Wildwood Exploration Inc. As part of the Agreement, Ryan Gold will enter into an exclusive employment agreement with Mr. Ryan pursuant to which, Mr. Ryan will be appointed President of Ryan Gold.

Michael Skead, CEO of Ryan Gold, commented: "We would like to congratulate Shawn on the receipt of this award, which recognizes his accomplishments in the Yukon. His self-disciplined and scientific approach to exploration has led to his success and ultimate recognition within the prospecting, exploration and mining community by being awarded the Prospector of the Year award for 2011. The board of directors and Company management look forward to working with Shawn and his wife Cathy Wood, who has controlled the business aspects of their ventures, to systematically explore and develop its properties, and to continue to build on the foundation of their work to date."

Sources:, New York Times,  Financial Times and Yahoo Finance

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