Dawson miner prepared to cut a deal

Placer miner Mike Heisey is open to all options when it comes to his two claims in Dawson City's Dredge Pond subdivision, he said in an interview this week.

Placer miner Mike Heisey is open to all options when it comes to his two claims in Dawson City’s Dredge Pond subdivision, he said in an interview this week.

Heisey recently applied to renew his permit to work the two claims that straddle the Klondike River.

His original plan was to work on them this spring to determine whether or not they were worth mining, Heisey told the News on Thursday.

But he said he “could consider” negotiating compensation for the claims to avoid the community kerfuffle.

“As a possible compromise, and if it would help keep the peace within Dawson and the subdivision, I might consider selling these mining claims back to the government, or be granted a deed to the two claims in exchange for giving up the mining rights,” Heisey said.

The two claims were staked in 1980. Heisey bought them in 2002.

The closest residential lot to the claims is 20 metres away. The claim on the north side of the Klondike River is zoned hinterland. The claim on the south side is zoned country residential.

The area is recognized as important wildlife habitat, a tourism route and a salmon-spawning ground. The Klondike River is also a source of drinking water for some residents.

But when Heisey bought the claims in 2002, he had no problem securing the land use permit and water licence he is now hoping to renew.

“When I purchased the claims, it sailed through all the regulatory comment period and everything without one single comment by one individual or agency,” said Heisey. “And now, 10 years later, the whole world is completely different. Yet nothing has changed with respect to those claims, my mining plan or anything. This is a simple renewal.”

But that was before the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act was passed in 2003.

Heisey admits he could keep his claims active by paying $200 annually for each, but he said he wants the option to eventually work them.

“What good is it to have a claim if you don’t have the licensing and permits for it, I mean to keep it active so I can use it and work with it if I ever want to?” he said.

“I never said never, I just said not right now.”

Heisey said his claims aren’t that close to homes and if any mining were to take place, the noise generated would be no worse then regular construction noise. The Callison Industrial Park across the road produces “almost constant machine noise,” he said.

Concerns about his plan to ford the river between the two claims are unfounded, he said. Any problems with spawning fish and water quality could be mitigated, he added.

Although he looked at options other than fording the river, they were more costly and possibly more detrimental, he said.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board is no longer taking public comments on Heisey’s application.

It received almost 30 submissions. They came from the town, the First Nation, federal departments, tourism operators, the Klondike Visitors Association, the Dawson District Renewable Resource Council and a number of Dawson residents.

“The whole world is up in arms,” said Heisey. “This is an unfortunate predicament for the family farm of the North. I have a big mining enterprise. I’m one of the largest miners in the Yukon and I personally pumped over $1 million worth of revenue into the city of Dawson in jobs for a number of employees, well over a dozen, and consultants and so forth this past year. And so I have to ask, why are people so against mining?”

His company, Heisey Ventures Inc., also has claims in the Indian River area and he sits on the board of the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.

Heisey said he is sympathetic to the concerns expressed during the YESAB process.

“Every effort would be made to conduct any mining operation in a manner that is sensitive to and minimizes those concerns,” he said.

“It does seem like the best solution at this point would be to have the government buy me out or trade the mining rights for fee simple title to the land. The Slinky Mine and my claim-licence renewal, both within city limits, have brought an issue – conflict to the surface that apparently needs to be resolved, as there are other mining claims within the city limits and the public appears to be less tolerant today than in the past with regard to mining.

“I’ve been a very stable and dependable seasonal resident of that subdivision and I like my neighbours. I don’t want anybody to be up in arms and I’m not trying to create any fights or wars or anything. But mining claims predate the creation of the subdivision and people presumably knew there were mining claims in the area before they purchased their lots. At least, that information was available in the public records.

“People should remember that mining is what created Dawson and even today it is one of the largest contributors to the lowcal economy. Without mining, who would be left in Dawson City?”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at


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

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read