Deadline looms on Ross River case

The Yukon government insists it can make a December 27 deadline to meet the requirements of a Yukon Court of Appeal decision that will affect mining across the territory.

The Yukon government insists it can make a December 27 deadline to meet the requirements of a Yukon Court of Appeal decision that will affect mining across the territory.

The government is dealing with the ruling through amendments to the Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act and the associated regulations.

It is also consulting with the Ross River Dena Council on which area of its traditional territory might be removed from staking. The court decision related explicitly to the land of the Ross River Dena, although its implications stretch through the Yukon and beyond.

Amendments to the mining acts are currently before the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

While all the other bills tabled this sitting, except for the secondary budget, have already been passed, the mining amendments were debated in committee of the whole only yesterday.

With tomorrow being the last day of the sitting, the amendments will likely be passed though Yukon’s so-called guillotine clause, which allows a final vote to be called on the last day of sitting on bills that have not yet seen full debate.

The changes to the regulations, too, have yet to be finalized.

Mines Minister Scott Kent confirmed in the legislature yesterday that officials are still working on those.

Stakeholders were given “plain language” regulations on November 13, less than three weeks before the deadline for feedback. Some pages of that document indicated that it was a “very rough draft.”

The Council of Yukon First Nations has called for a staking ban across the territory so the implications of the court decision can be properly dealt with.

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