A decision on the future of the Kudz Ze Kayah mine project is expected within the next three months.
A July 16 letter from the federal and territorial government branches that will make a decision on the project to the executive committee of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) offered more information on the timeline for their decision.
The letter states that the deciding bodies have requested a meeting with the chiefs of the Kaska First Nations. They say they expect to arrive at a decision in consultation with Kaska within the next three months.
The Kudz Ze Kayah mine is a proposed project 115 kilometres south of Ross River.
The project initially received a recommendation for approval from YESAB and the Yukon government announced it would approve the project but the federal government found YESAB’s screening report insufficient.
In January, the feds requested that YESAB compile more information and issue new recommendations reconsidering First Nations interests as well as water and caribou protections.
In late March, YESAB announced it was deadlocked in a tie vote, citing disagreement over whether the adverse effects of the mine could be mitigated. As a result, they were unable to issue new recommendations.
Two members of YESAB’s executive committee members said the new information was not sufficient to issue new recommendations, while the other two argued that the importance of the area where the mine is proposed should preclude any development there.
With YESAB stalled on a new recommendation, the Yukon and federal governments were left to approve, reject or modify their initial recommendation that the mine be allowed to proceed.
The announcement of YESAB’s split decision drew concern from conservation organizations about the mine’s impact on the Finlayson caribou herd and the Yukon Chamber of Mines also lamented what they called an unnecessary delay of the mine project.
-With files from Gabrielle Plonka
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org