Assessors reject Tombstone mining plans

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has rejected a plan to mine for gold in Tombstone Territorial Park.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has rejected a plan to mine for gold in Tombstone Territorial Park.

Canadian United Minerals wants to use helicopters to sling ore from the mine site every two weeks during the summer months. Its principal, Joel White, figures he can extract all the gold-rich rock within five years and that the project would have a negligible impact on the park.

Assessors weren’t convinced. In a decision document issued Tuesday, the board concluded that “the project will have significant adverse environmental and socio-economic effects in and outside the Yukon that cannot be mitigated.”

Concerns ranged from the project’s impact on nearby sheep, grizzly bears and other wildlife to its potential to tarnish the park’s pristine image.

The board only makes recommendations. The final decision lies in the hands of the territorial government.

The board received nearly 900 comments about the mining project. That’s largely thanks to a campaign against the project led by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

The Tr’ondek Hwech’in has also long opposed White’s plans. In its submission, it cited 12 instances of mine inspectors expressing concern about White’s operations over the last decade.

Canadian United Minerals claimed its Horn property shortly before the territorial government banned staking in the area to make way for the creation of the park.

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