First I must say “if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined,” and I support a strong and diverse Yukon economy.
But the Three Rivers area of the Peel Watershed begs special consideration.
It is one of the last intact boreal forest regions that remains unfettered by roads but also unprotected. It also happens to be visually spectacular and biologically rich.
My mining friends tell me that, for a variety of reasons, the claims in this region are unlikely to be mined and certainly not within our lifetimes. Examples may be the $4.2 billion it would cost to put a road into one of the claims, the high sulphur content of the iron, or the fact that one prospect brings the controversy of uranium.
Outside of the Peel Watershed there are five or six mines coming on-stream in the next five to 10 years; they are not within controversial areas and are near existing transportation corridors. We have an embarrassment of riches in the Yukon; the mining industry claims that 97 per cent of the deposits are yet unexplored.
The Three Rivers area is a wilderness gem and world-class icon of the Yukon.
With so many other more viable locations to explore and mine, protection of the Three Rivers area isn’t “a land grab”- it’s looking to the future!
Times have changed and the majority of Yukoners now embrace this balanced approach to land planning.
Neil Hartling, president
Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon