Digging holes, filling them in

Digging holes, filling them in Open letter to Richard Mostyn: Once again, Mostyn, your absolute ignorance of the Yukon mining industry has compelled me to respond. In your latest attack on the Yukon mining industry, you said, "Over the last 30 years the

Open letter to Richard Mostyn:

Once again, Mostyn, your absolute ignorance of the Yukon mining industry has compelled me to respond.

In your latest attack on the Yukon mining industry, you said, “Over the last 30 years the government’s failure to retool the legislation has deprived the territory of tens of millions of dollars.”

Mostyn, over the last 30 years far from depriving the territory of tens of millions of dollars, the Yukon placer mining industry (let’s not forget the hardrock industry as well, but I’ll save that for another letter) has produced hundreds of millions of dollars for the Yukon economy.

You say, “That money could have helped much important infrastructure, from roads, schools, jails, public housing or hospital residences. Instead, it has been lost. Yukon miners often cite how their industry contributes to the Yukon economy and how it is the future of its independence.”

You really are completely clueless and ignorant of placer mining in the Yukon, Mostyn.

Utterly and absolutely clueless.

Mostyn, since 1888 there has been an industry in the Yukon called placer mining that has contributed untold hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to much-needed public infrastructure and provided employment for generations of Yukoners, myself being one of them.

A quick glance at some history books will remind you that the Yukon had no infrastructure before placer mining came to the Yukon.

Far from depriving the Yukon of money for much-needed infrastructure, the placer industry has made government infrastructure in the Yukon possible.

The venerable Yukon placer mining industry has and continues to contribute much to the history, culture and economy to this great land called the Yukon.

Then you have the nerve to insult and anger many a placer miner by having the gall to say, “It is beyond time they paid a fair price for the resources they profit from so handsomely.”

Get out of your office and spend some time on the creeks this summer, Mostyn, before you continue to slam an industry you know nothing about.

I have memories of a childhood spent in poverty because my father’s gold mine on Livingstone Creek had yet another bad season and we had no money to live on for the winter, let alone “profit from so handsomely.” I remember my father always having to go work all winter to recover from money lost from placer mining. For eight years, our family struggled and worked very hard at Livingstone Creek.

My family never turned a profit from placer mining, we spent everything we ever made on it, we were broke and poor from it and, in the end, Dad lost his shirt over his placer mine. But he continued on because that was our life.

In later years, I spent nine wonderful years working for a family of Dawson miners who have been working the Klondike gold fields since 1898.

During many of those years, the placer industry was hit hard by rock-bottom gold prices. My employers kept on mining through those lean years and, profit or not, their bills and employees were always paid, because that’s what we do, Mostyn. Placer mining is not just about money, it is a Yukon way of life and, if you were to only take a journey to the Klondike and learn more about the industry that you love to hate, I feel that you would come to the same conclusion.

There has been more money spent on placer mining than has ever been made from it.

The Yukon Placer Act is what helps keeps placer mining alive in the Yukon; it does not need to be amended. But your ignorant, misinforming, anti-mining editorials need to be rebutted in print by the people who know more than you do about the industry that the Yukon News devotes so much printing space attacking.

Jon Wilkie

Dawson City