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VANCOUVER, March 6 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining 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 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 and Agnico Eagle Mines 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, 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. ($1 = 1.3414 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Tom Brown)