New mining rules will cover half of Yukon

The new Class 1 exploration regime will apply to 47 per cent of the territory as of next week, a spokesperson for Energy, Mines and Resources has confirmed.

The new Class 1 exploration regime will apply to 47 per cent of the territory as of next week, a spokesperson for Energy, Mines and Resources has confirmed.

Under the new rules, mining claim holders must notify the government of all low-level exploration activities that will take place on a claim.

The government must then notify any potentially affected First Nations and make accommodations where necessary.

Before these rules, companies could conduct grassroots exploration without telling anyone.

The exempt activities included things like cutting trails up to 1.5 metres in width and using explosives.

But that changed thanks to a 2012 Yukon Court of Appeal decision that found the Ross River Dena Council’s aboriginal rights were infringed by the Class 1 exploration regime.

The government implemented the new Class 1 rules to the Ross River area at the end of 2013, and added parts of the Peel watershed earlier this year.

Other First Nations demanded the same consideration, and the Taku River Tlingit and the Kaska Dena Council filed lawsuits to that effect.

For that reason, the new Class 1 rules are being extended to Category A and B settlement land of Yukon First Nations and the traditional territories of unsettled First Nations.

But this new regime, covering nearly half the territory, is only an interim step towards territory-wide rules that the government hopes will be in place for the 2015 exploration season.

“There’s obviously some work that we need to do before then,” said Mines Minister Scott Kent in an interview this week.

The plan is to consult with industry and First Nations over the coming year and agree on a set of very low-level exploration activities that could be exempt from the new notification rules.

The idea is to find those activities that currently fall under Class 1 that won’t have significant impacts on the land, and allow prospectors to continue to do those without telling anyone.

The trick will be getting 11 settled Yukon First Nations, three unsettled First Nations, a number of First Nations based outside the Yukon with overlapping territory, and the mining industry to all agree.

“‘We need (First Nations and industry) to be willing partners, and they have indicated that they’re interested in pursuing those discussions,” said Kent.

“Prospecting and this early-stage exploration is a crucial part of the health of the mining industry and the sustainability of the mining industry in the territory and we want to make sure that everybody understands that, and that industry is able to communicate what they need to operate not only to ourselves, but to our First Nations partners.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

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

Most Read