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

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

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

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… 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

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read