Kaska sign exploration deal

A group of three mining companies have signed an agreement with the Kaska to conduct exploration on their traditional territory.

A group of three mining companies have signed an agreement with the Kaska to conduct exploration on their traditional territory.

The Liard First Nation and the Ross River Dena Council agreed to support exploration activities by the Predator Group, including Golden Predator Corp., Silver Predator Corp. and Redtail Metals Corp., in the southeast Yukon.

Kaska leaders announced earlier this week that they would oppose any exploration or other mining activity by any company that does not have an agreement with them.

The ban came on the heels of the Yukon government’s move to remove the Kaska’s veto power over oil and gas development in the southeast from the Oil and Gas Act.

Premier Pasloski has met with Kaska leaders several times since then to attempt to resolve their differences. They met most recently at a mining conference in Vancouver on Monday.

While Pasloski said he thought the meeting went well, Chief Liard McMillan of the Liard First Nation said the Kaska were disappointed that the premier rejected their proposal to establish a forum to address their issues.

The deal with the Predator Group promises that the Kaska will support the exploration projects of the companies and help them through the permitting processes.

In return, the Kaska will receive preferential employment and business opportunities and a community fund will be established.

Also, mechanisms will be put in place to resolve any disagreements that might arise.

“We are proud to enter this agreement with the Kaska nation and continue to honour our commitment to be leaders in the Yukon through our working relationship with communities and First Nations,” said William Sheriff, CEO of Golden Predator in a press release.

Klondike Liberal MLA Sandy Silver praised both the Kaska and the Predator Group for their co-operation on bringing economic opportunity to southeast Yukon.

“Golden Predator has succeeded where the Yukon Party government could not,” said Silver in a press release. “They have struck a deal with the Kaska, in fairly short order, that will ensure exploration continues in the Kaska’s traditional territory.”

Silver was not surprised given Golden Predator’s record working with First Nations, he said.

“They have been a very good corporate citizen in Dawson and have a solid working relationship with the Tr’ondek Hwech’in.”

Silver hopes that the government will follow the companies’ lead and work towards a co-operative agreement with the Kaska, he said.

“Under this Yukon Party government we have gone from leading the country in First Nations relations to leading the way in court action. Perhaps today’s news will serve as a wake-up call.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com