Time for an overhaul of our regulatory system

The Yukon Chamber of Mines was very disappointed to learn of the 44 jobs lost by employees of Pelly Construction. Pelly Construction, the Byram family, and their employees are all part of the Yukon. We can all be proud of the contributio

COMMENTARY

by Samson Hartland

The Yukon Chamber of Mines was very disappointed to learn of the 44 jobs lost by employees of Pelly Construction.

Pelly Construction, the Byram family, and their employees are all part of the Yukon. We can all be proud of

the contributions that they have made to improve the social fabric of the territory with their support of the Yukon Hospital Foundation, Mount Sima and many other causes and charities that are too numerous to mention.

It is uncertain how large a role permitting delays in Minto mine’s expansion played in the layoffs. The Yukon Chamber of Mines would like to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that there are serious deficiencies in our current permitting system.

The timelines and costs to successfully permit mineral exploration and mining activities in Yukon have increased significantly, and this is resulting in direct and indirect job losses and a lowering of the competitiveness of Yukon as a place to invest.

An efficient, timely and fair permitting process is in the best interests of all Yukoners. The chamber of mines is not advocating a less stringent permitting system, regulations, or environmental and social economic reviews of projects, but we are advocating for an improved and more efficient and streamlined environmental assessment and permitting process.

Projects such as Capstone’s Minto mine and Alexco’s Keno Hill silver district have been through the YESAA process numerous times for various mine plan changes. These projects are adding resources that are very similar in nature and proximal to those already permitted.

One would assume that the knowledge from previous assessments would result in reduced permitting timelines and costs for operating mines, but this unfortunately has not been the case, as the current environmental assessment process requires these projects to essentially start all over again for routine mine plan expansions.

Alexco has recently submitted a project proposal for the Flame and Moth deposit, an underground mine that sits directly below the already permitted and built Keno District Mill. This assessment will represent the ninth time Alexco has gone through the YESAA process since 2006.

Given the extremely high volume of exploration projects in recent years, the opportunity to review the efficiency of the process to review and permit exploration and make improvements to the current system exists.

The current system creates a workload that not only adds costs to the companies or individuals making applications but to Yukon First Nations who have limited resources, numerous Yukon government departments, and other non-government organizations.

There must be a solution to create a more efficient, fair and timely permitting and environmental and socio-economic review process in Yukon. It will take the co-operation of the Yukon government, federal government and Yukon First Nations to help solve this urgent issue.

The Yukon Chamber of Mines, its partners and members are proud to represent a modern, responsible mining industry whose goal is to generate a vibrant economy with the least amount of impact on the environment for the benefit of all Yukoners, First Nations, and Canadians.

Samson Hartland is executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read