First Nations collaborate on mining agreements

Leaders and land managers from various Yukon First Nations gathered in Whitehorse on Wednesday to attend a one-day workshop on how to negotiate better agreements with mining companies.

Leaders and land managers from various Yukon First Nations gathered in Whitehorse on Wednesday to attend a one-day workshop on how to negotiate better agreements with mining companies.

Nineteen delegates participated in the event, which was organized by the Firelight Group and Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and held at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre.

Sarah Newton, manager of lands and resources at Liard First Nation, said the workshop is important because it clears some of the misconceptions that are inevitably associated with those important agreements, struck between First Nations and mining companies.

“Our agreements with proponents are the most powerful mechanism to gain benefits from projects,” she said.

“These agreements are crucial to the future prosperity of aboriginal communities. We received good strategies to ensure the communities are involved and their needs are considered with these agreements.”

Thirteen advisors were on hand to provide one-on-one dialogue and help those in attendance get a better grasp of the contractual agreements their communities sign with companies.

Ginger Gibson, director of the Firelight Group, facilitated Wednesday’s event. She said the workshop was a safe place for information to be shared among Yukon First Nations.

“We’ve been hearing about the unique characteristics in which each nation approaches making agreements with other parties,” she said.

“It’s a really good opportunity for people to share information collectively. Yukon First Nations have been negotiating for a long time and have many years under their belt. We’ve brought a new tool into the mix.”

In 2010, the foundation published the IBA Community Toolkit, a free resource for aboriginal communities considering impact benefit agreements, specifically with mining companies.

Gibson said the workshop was a good opportunity to improve the toolkit and keep it up to date.

Participants and advisors also discussed the recent tailings pond breach at the Imperial Metals Mount Polley mine near Likely, B.C. Some fear the spill may have contaminated a number of waterways upstream of several Yukon First Nations communities, although water quality tests at the site have come back within drinking water guidelines and provincial health officials insist the spill won’t adversely affect fish.

Negotiator Allen Edzerza said Mount Polley is proof that First Nations need to have steps in place to do certain actions, should similar accidents occur in their communities.

“People are connected to the land and it’s their responsibility to protect it for future generations,” he said.

“The First Nations up here have a long history of negotiation experience. They’ve dealt with big issues around land and wildlife and serious environmental concerns.”

Edzerza mentioned the toxic mess BYG Natural Resources Inc. left behind after they closed down the Mount Nansen gold and silver mine in 1999.

He also singled out the Faro mine site remediation project.

“When you take a look at Mount Polley, you realize that Yukon has had its own Mount Polley.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read