I read with interest the Yukon Chamber of Mines’ response to the Yukon New Democrats’ plan to use our fair share of Yukon resources to build a Yukon Resource Legacy Fund.
I’ve worked with the mining industry. I’ve served as an ex-officio member of the Yukon Chamber of Mines in my role as the president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.
The industry spokesperson is suggesting the mining industry in the Yukon is taxed at a larger rate than the rest of Canada, and therefore deserves the astounding breaks we offer on placer gold and hardrock mineral royalties.
They claim royalties, like 37.5 cents on an $1,800 ounce of placer gold and a sliding-scale royalty rate based on profit on hardrock mines Ã that we’ve never collected on Ã are reasonable.
On the issue of taxation rates, Natural Resources Canada has comparison information for anyone who takes the time to look. The net combined Federal/Territorial Corporate Income Tax Rate in the Yukon is 33 per cent Ã lower than the Atlantic provinces, and nearly on par with Manitoba, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
However, this doesn’t show the entire picture.
Yukon’s mining industry also enjoys no capital taxes, a 100 per cent tax deduction on exploration, a 100 per cent deduction on development and additional deductions at the Mines minister’s discretion on milling and processing allowance caps.
In addition, all taxes on mining, smelting, and refining profits are deductible Ã plus the operation and maintenance costs.
To recap, companies get a 100 per cent break on exploration, 100 per cent break on development, and get further breaks on operation, mining, smelting and refining Ã meaning that while the combined tax rate may be moderately high, mining companies receive incredible breaks and deductions that the average Yukon household can only dream of.
All of these elements need to be taken into account when separating the wheat from the chaff Ã or in our case Ã the gold from the gravel, when deciphering any material from the Yukon Chamber of Mines.
A Yukon New Democrat government will continue the Mining Incentives Program that a previous NDP government instituted to help the mining industry recover costs from exploration and development. Yukon New Democrats continue to support a responsible, competitive mining industry, just as we did then.
However, unlike the other parties, we are also proposing a reasonable, responsible consultation with industry about mining royalties. Like Liz Hanson said when announcing the Yukon Resource Legacy Fund, “reasonable people will find reasonable solutions.” The other parties seem very keen to promise millions of dollars in new spending, but only the Yukon New Democrats have a sustainable plan to pay for new spending with a reasonable royalty increase.
The Selkirk First Nation and the Minto Mine have achieved what the rest of the Yukon can only imagine at this point with their net smelter royalty, which paid $5.9 million to the citizens of the Selkirk First Nation.
I’m willing to bet that Yukoners agree that it’s time the rest of the Yukon received our fair share.
Stephen Dunbar-Edge, NDP candidate