The Yukon News article Miners Dump on NDP (September 23) raises objections to the NDP’s case for a review of mining royalties.
There is, behind the industries’ arguments, a proposition that needs to be validated. “Mining Works for the Yukon” is just rhetoric until data is collected that shows it to be otherwise.
I realize there are substantial expenditures in mineral exploration and in mining, but I have seen no evidence that shows the extent to which the sector economically benefits the Yukon in both the short and long term.
Analysis of regional economic expansion initiatives have shown the greatest benefits were realized by major centres while the more remote regions were left with net long-term costs.
To determine the extent mining expenditures benefit the Yukon and the effects such expenditures have on the balance of the Yukon’s economy, we need to conduct an input-output analysis.
An input-output analysis examines how expenditures and income in one sector of an economy spill over into other sectors of the economy.
For example, if an exploration company brings in gear, crew and resources with its own transportation from Outside, only small portion of the exploration expenditures remain in the Yukon, yet impacts on the landscape remain with the Yukon.
There is little economic benefit to the Yukon in this case.
An input-output analysis would clarify the extent to which the mining sector benefits and costs other sectors of our economy.
I realize some sectors of the economy and some sectors of government do not want such information collected and analyzed. Are there other benefits to knowing the extent to which the mining sector benefits and costs other sectors of the Yukon economy? I believe there are. Knowing the sector’s real costs and benefits would permit the government to set regulations, policies and practices that enhance regional benefits. Such knowledge also helps define the extent to which mining initiatives should receive regional support and the extent to which mining royalties should benefit the region.
Arguments on the part of the industry, that marginal mining operations may not be viable if faced with increased royalties, may not be well founded.
If an operation is that marginal, then wait until metal prices or operational processes reach a point at which the operation is viable even with increased royalties.
I am not objecting to viable, environmentally responsible mining operations. I am arguing that they should pay their way and be a proven net benefit to the Yukon.
This requires more than citing the amount spent, if we are left with the long-term costs.