Exploration rules could change again: Silver

Yukon's new Class 1 exploration regime could be extended to new parts of the territory this summer, according to Liberal Leader Sandy Silver.

Yukon’s new Class 1 exploration regime could be extended to new parts of the territory this summer, according to Liberal Leader Sandy Silver.

Until this year prospectors could work their claims up to a certain threshold of activity without notifying government or First Nations. Class 1 is the lowest level of exploration, and can include activities such as clearing trees, building trails, digging up rock and the use of explosives.

That changed after a Yukon Court of Appeal ruled that such activities in the Ross River traditional territory could infringe on the aboriginal rights of the Ross River Dena Council.

As a result, the Yukon government has introduced new rules where notification and consultation is required for Class 1 activities in designated areas of the territory.

To date, the rules have only been applied in the Ross River area and parts of the Peel watershed.

But since then, the B.C.-based Taku River Tlingit First Nation and Kaska Dena Council have each sued the Yukon government, demanding the same protections.

The White River First Nation has threatened a lawsuit as well.

According to Silver, Premier Darrell Pasloski promised chiefs in a closed-door meeting last week that the new Class 1 rules would apply to Liard First Nation and White River First Nation territory as of July 1.

“He also said that notification for Class 1 activities would be introduced Yukon-wide sooner rather than later,” said Silver in the legislature Monday.

The Yukon government will not confirm or deny any planned changes to the Class 1 exploration regime.

“When we have an announcement to make, we’ll make it together with our partners,” wrote a spokesperson for the government in an email.

Mike Power, president of the Yukon Prospectors’ Association, said the association will not comment until the government makes an announcement about what it intends to do.

Silver said in an interview Tuesday that the government is creating uncertainty for prospectors going into this exploration season.

“This is the government that keeps promising certainty, yet here is another example of just the opposite.

“They’ve been playing politics with this situation as opposed to uniting governments and industry on this very important issue.”

Samson Hartland, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, said it’s a good sign that the government is meeting with First Nations.

“That speaks volumes if those sorts of discussions are taking place. That’s fantastic, because the alternative is potentially the courtroom, and I think that creates more uncertainty for the industry and for the marketplace. And I think that’s certainly what everyone would like to avoid.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read