Dawson mine gears up on the Dome

Dawson residents thought the government was waiting on Yukon Water Board hearings before deciding about the fate of a placer mine on the Midnight Dome subdivision. But this week they've noticed signs the Slinky placer mine is going ahead anyway.

Dawson residents thought the government was waiting on Yukon Water Board hearings before deciding about the fate of a placer mine on the Midnight Dome subdivision.

But this week they’ve noticed signs the Slinky placer mine is going ahead anyway.

Tuesday trees started disappearing on Mary McLean Road alongside the mine.

Then came the road signs. Bright yellow and orange signposts popped up on Dome Road warning pedestrians and drivers to be cautious.

One says, “active mine area, stay on main highway.”

Another says “Danger” with a sign of a man shoveling beneath it.

“This is just ridiculous,” said Glenda Bolt, whose house is less than 100 metres from some of Darrell Carey’s claims. “The trees being removed are coming closer and closer to my property.”

Thursday morning city bylaw officers served Carey a stop work order.

The removal of trees violates city laws, said officer Elizabeth Foubister.

“He needs a development permit for clearing,” she said. “He only has subsurface rights to the land.”

Carey ignored the stop work order and continued clearing trees off the property, said Bolt.

“I don’t know what to do anymore; I don’t even want to go home. I feel sick,” said Bolt, who called the police yesterday because she felt unsafe.

“I’m expecting a D-9 to be plowing closer and closer to my property.”

It’s not the first time Bolt has felt encroached upon. In the fall Bolt discovered another team of prospectors digging holes in her backyard looking for gold.

Carey has the right to continue working his placer claims according to the government and mining recorder.

The particular claim on which he’s clearing trees doesn’t expire until December 2011, said Mark Roberts, a spokesperson for Energy, Mines and Resources.

Meanwhile the government has given no word yet on what it plans to do with competing interests on Dawson’s Midnight Dome.

Late in March, the government gave the green light to a placer mine and a residential subdivision on the same overlapping piece of land in Dawson. Both projects had been rejected by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

Carey’s water licence expires May 1. After that the water board will determine whether to extend his licence based on a recent proposal to step up production on the property.

Carey has held claim to the land since 1998 but the land remained relatively dormant until recently.

Now he has plans to strip 40,000 cubic yards of soil per year for the next 10 years, an amount equal to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

By remaining silent on the issue, the government isn’t addressing the concerns of the community, said Bolt.

“It’s such a contentious issue and everybody is under the impression that someone else is taking the lead on it,” she said.

Dawson residents spent the last two months trying to contact Klondike MLA Steve Nordick about the Slinky mine, said Bolt.

Each attempt was ignored.

That was until Bolt cornered Nordick and Community Services Minister Archie Lang at a wine and cheese party for an Association of Yukon Communities meeting last weekend.

They both visited her property.

“It was the first time we had any engagement with our MLA,” she said.

“(Lang) stood at the edge of my property and I got the impression he finally understood just how close the surrounding community is to the mine.”

That’s when Lang told her the mine wouldn’t go ahead any time soon and that more discussion needs to happen, said Bolt.

“But in the meantime the Slinky mine is open and (Carey) is out there working on it.”

Inside the legislature the discussion hasn’t been any clearer.

Last week, Mining Minister Patrick Rouble spent three hours filibustering an NDP motion seeking to clarify mineral staking within municipalities.

“Free entry is simply a system that allows the entrepreneurial spirit to exist, but it in no way reduces anyone else’s legitimate rights,” said Rouble.

The citizens of Dawson argue otherwise.

“This issue has to be kept on the front burner,” said Dome resident Shirley Pennell. She is concerned the mine will create safety hazards and noise disturbances for people in the community.

“I’ve gotten the impression so far it’s not necessarily a key issue to be discussed (in Whitehorse).”

She has little faith in the government heeding the Yukon Water Board’s forthcoming recommendations when it has already rejected the advice of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

“With the YESAB report it seemed as though the fox was tending the hen house,” she said.

“How can the (decision to reject the board’s assessment) be made by the department of mining?”

Earlier this month the territorial government met with the municipality of Dawson to discuss the Dome issue.

But it’s unclear what happened at that meeting, attended by Dawson’s mayor and CAO, and Community Services’ assistant deputy minister, Dan Boyd.

Neither the mayor nor CAO returned phone calls.

Even Dawson councillor Wayne Potoroka, who has been candid about the issue in the past, was tight-lipped.

“Ask the mayor,” he said, adding that the process has been moving at a “glacial speed.”

Sunday the Association of Yukon Communities passed a resolution asking the government to engage communities on land-based conflicts arising from mineral staking.

Communication with the municipalities isn’t happening, said Dome resident Sandy Silver, who last weekend announced his intention to run as a Liberal candidate in the upcoming territorial election.

“A lot of Dawsonites just want their MLA to facilitate communications between all level of governments, the miners, and get everybody at the table together,” he said.

What happens with the Slinky mine will have repercussions for the rest of Dawson where there are still 50 open placer claims in the community.

“If the government engaged Carey on the issue long ago they may have been able to resolve this a lot earlier,” said Silver.

Contact Vivian Belik at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abigail Jirousek, left, is tailed by Brian Horton while climbing a hill during the Cross Country Yukon January Classic in Whitehorse on Jan. 23. Jirousek finished second in the U16 girls category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Cross Country Yukon hosts classic race

Cross Country Yukon hosted a classic technique cross-country ski race on Jan.… Continue reading

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. The Yukon government said Jan. 25 that it is disappointed in a decision by the federal government to send the Kudz Ze Kayah mining project back to the drawing board. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Territorial and federal governments at odds over Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

The federal government, backed by Liard First Nation, sent the proposal back to the screening stage


Wyatt’s World for Jan. 27, 2021

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man facing two tickets violating the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em>. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Arrest warrant issued for CEMA violation

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ansh Dhawan over two tickets for violating CEMA

The office space at 151 Industrial Road in Marwell. At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members voted to sign off on the conditional use approval so Unit 6 at 151 Industrial Rd. can be used for office space. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Marwell move set for land and building services staff

Conditional use, lease approved for office space

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

Most Read