Yukon Mines Minister Scott Kent says that the Yukon’s falling rank in an annual global report on mining-friendly jurisdictions is “something that we take very seriously.”
The Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies measures a region’s mineral potential alongside the mining industry’s perceptions of resource policies to create an overall ranking.
While the Yukon ranked first for mineral potential in the latest survey, released this week, it declined from 19th to 26th place on the policy perception index, dropping the territory to 9th overall.
The government is proud that the territory holds a top spot for mineral potential, said Kent.
“We owe a lot to the industry people that helped us to uncover some of the geology, and also the Yukon Geological Survey,” he said.
“When it comes to the other aspects, I guess the opportunity that exists with that is, we can control those regulatory and policy processes and look to improve them.”
The minister said that he would be soliciting more feedback from mining industry interests at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention in Toronto next week.
He also cited the government’s ongoing work on a mineral development strategy and a mine licensing improvement initiative.
Strengthening the government’s sometimes-strained relationships with First Nations when it comes to mining is “absolutely” a priority, Kent said.
“We anticipate that First Nations will have a significant role in both of those initiatives.”
While acknowledging the government’s various legal battles with First Nations, Kent added that unnecessary duplication in the Yukon’s regulatory regime can also be a turn-off for potential mining investors.
“We want to make sure that, without compromising any of our environmental standards and integrity, that we look to eliminate duplication and reduce the overlap in the licensing process,” he said.
“We feel that, combined with better First Nations relationships, will put us in a better position going forward.”