Low-level mineral exploration system proposed for entire territory next year

The plan is being pitched in order to streamline the process, reduce confusion

Implementing a low-level mineral exploration regime across the Yukon is set to occur this spring, having been agreed to by all self-governing First Nations.

The goal is to streamline staking processes by bolstering communication between industry and governments.

“It’s gonna provide certainty to industry,” said Jennifer Russell, manager of mineral planning and development for the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. “Now, instead of having this discussion about whether class one notification is required or not where their claims are, they’ll have certainty that this is a requirement across the Yukon.”

The Yukon government has to be notified when there’s a one to 10-person camp going in or when trenches or corridors are built, for example. All of these fall under a class one notification, a low-level development threshold. Those wishing to develop their claims can notify the Yukon government and affected First Nations online.

Currently, class one notification applies to roughly 50 per cent of the Yukon. It doesn’t require an environmental assessment — subsequent ones do, however.

An improved online submission tool is being worked out in order to expedite wait times for staking work posing the least environmental harm. There’s a 25-day review period right now for this classification. This could be reduced, Russell said.

Nothing would change in Ross River, said Russell, where there’s a staking ban in place. Existing claims can still be tended to, so those people can expand them. The class one notification system already exists in the area, Russell said.

First Nations have been calling on the Yukon government to do more notification and consultation regarding mining activity since 2013, she said.

“Yukon government has recognized that we have this legal duty to consult on these low-level mining activities.”

The development is tied to a recommendation in the mining memorandum of understanding, according to a news release.

It also says this classification is currently applied in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s traditional territory, the asserted traditional territories of all Yukon First Nations without final agreements, the territories of the Taku River Tlingit, in the Peel Watershed area and on Category A and B First Nation settlement lands.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Fifth COVID-19 case hits the Yukon

An individual tested positive over the weekend

UPDATED: Yukon declares state of emergency over COVID-19

Declaration should not cause panic, officials say, and risk level in Yukon remains unchanged

Yukon early childhood educators concerned about working during pandemic

Early childhood educator has circulated letter expressing concerns about care centres remaining open

Victoria Gold still operating Eagle Gold mine with COVID-19 precautions in place

The mine is still in operation but with precautions, including social distancing, in place

YTA, Yukon government reach agreement on hiring dispute out of court

YTA’s petition was set to be heard March 25 but was called off after the parties reached an agreement

City hall, briefly

Here’s a look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its… Continue reading

Skagway has resolve in the COVID-19 struggle, mayor says

Skagway mayor said border access is important for residents.

Yukonomist: Steering your business through COVID-19

While “proofing” your business against the impacts might not be possible, being prepared is.

History Hunter: How the Yukon was spared the influenza pandemic of 1918

The isolation of the Yukon then afford the territory some protection that it doesn’t have today

Whitehorse city council contemplates OCP change for section of the tank farm

Change would allow for commercial industrial use instead of current residential classification

Truck slides off Dempster Highway

The truck left the road around 4 p.m. on March 19. The highway was closed until March 21 for cleanup.

Most Read