Let’s deal in facts for a change

Let's deal in facts for a change I'm getting a little cranky lately over the claims made by opponents of development within the Peel and surrounding drainages. There is simply little or no truth in the ads and public statements made by the save-the-Peel

I’m getting a little cranky lately over the claims made by opponents of development within the Peel and surrounding drainages. There is simply little or no truth in the ads and public statements made by the save-the-Peel crowd regarding mineral exploration in the Yukon.

Let’s look at responding to this junk with the real facts.

1. “Mining companies don’t need to explore the Peel Watershed because there are lots of other areas to explore.”

Beep! Wrong.

The hottest new exploration targets in the Yukon run along a 450-kilometre-long belt of properties that directly adjoin the south edge of the area withdrawn from staking by the Peel land planning process.

Is the geology different just across the magic line to the north? No, the favourable horizons track a goodly distance into the enchanted forest.

About half of the “good rocks” lay within the area withdrawn from activity and half lay on open lands.

Is there less likelihood of finding large ore deposits just across the magic line on the map? No, it is probably a bit more likely within Never-Never Land than to the south of the great wall.

2. “None of the money spent by mining companies stays in the Yukon.”

This is truly one of the great “Oh, come on now!” moments in anti-development advertising.

Nearly every penny spent in the Yukon by mineral exploration companies stays right here in the Yukon.

Private-sector Yukon suppliers and their employees provide pretty well everything that the industry needs. Groceries, lumber, fuels, transportation, vehicles, drills, tools, heavy equipment, safety supplies, clothing, parts and repairs, expeditors, geophysical contractors, environmental contractors, line cutters, staking crews, samplers, cooks, first aiders, surveyors, and a myriad of other local products and services are all provided by dedicated Yukoners. You know, the people just down the street from you.

Their wages and profits are all, in turn, spent right here at home! It is just too cavalier for words to have the environmental movement tell us that our businesses are not of value to the mining industry. In literal fact, we are the Yukon mining industry and we are all from right here in the Yukon.

3. “Mineral exploration companies hire people from southern Canada to do all of their work.”

Beep! Really, really wrong!

This one can realistically be termed an outright, bald-faced lie.

The vast majority of exploration workers in the Yukon are Yukon residents. In fact, even the professionals directing the field projects are mostly Yukoners, a lot of them were born or raised here and developed their interest in prospecting and geology as youngsters. Most of them have homes and families here.

Our tiny little transportation company hauled mining personnel to and from the wilderness daily from bush camps to the tune of 8,000-man days spent working on the land. Very close to 100 per cent of those workers had Yukon driver’s licences in their pockets.

In my case, I can only think of four geologists and two geophysicists who were not Yukon taxpayers in over nine months of crew set-outs and pickups.

I wonder if CPAWS and their NDP and Green Party buddies realize the incredibly valuable advertising that they are providing for the “other guys” by buying full page ads in the newspapers containing comments so disparaging to Yukoners.

Arthur Mitchell and Darrell Pasloski must be clapping their hands with glee at seeing these full page anti-development ads spewing forth bold 18-point print basically telling three or four thousand hardworking Yukoners that all of their best efforts are apparently going completely unnoticed by the public at large.

That has to be a really hard slap in the face.

I know it is for me.

John Witham

Grizzly Valley, Yukon

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