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

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read