The Yukon Chamber of Mines has dropped the quaint placer miner from its logo and replaced him with a helmet-wearing underground miner with a pickaxe.
A new public relations campaign is underway, as large hardrock mines take the vanguard in the Yukon’s mining industry.
“Our communications are going to be very important this year,” said Claire Derome, who became the chamber’s new president this week at the chamber’s annual general meeting.
The mining company Derome works for, Western Copper, was hoping to be part of the new wave of hardrock mines opening in Yukon.
But its plans for a mine near Carmacks are stalled in a court battle.
In the meantime, Alexco’s Bellekeno mine has gone online and Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine mine is supposed to begin production by the end of the year – bringing the total hardrock mines in production to three.
Derome’s run for the top job at the chamber wasn’t much of a race.
She was the chamber’s first vice-president before her promotion and the chamber usually funnels its leadership from that position, she said.
“It’s the logical succession.”
Derome downplayed any substantial changes at the chamber despite the leadership shift.
“It’s mostly the same board and we’ve been working together for quite a while,” she said.
She picks up the job from Carl Schulze, who held the position for three years.
Normally, someone is only president for one year.
But Schulze was renominated twice. He was also president in 1999.
“I have absolutely no regrets for being president and no regrets for anything I ever said,” said Schulze.
The chamber’s battle with First Nations and conservationists over the Peel Watershed land-use plan dominated Schulze’s tenure as president.
“That was hard, at moments,” he said.
His proudest moment was during a public meeting in September when he warned of lower living standards if the Peel Watershed became heavily protected from mining, he said.
His biggest complaint about the job were the public attacks he received for his views.
“There were a few times that I got letters to the editor that were pretty inflammatory and I didn’t care too much for that,” he said.
While Schulze was a savvy media commentator on mining issues, the chamber will now use its executive director, Michael Wark, as its public voice.
Putting Wark in the communications job allows the board to focus on directing the chamber, said Derome.
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