Paz meets Parnell

Alaska and the Yukon may look to pool their resources to offer mine training, says Premier Darrell Pasloski.

Alaska and the Yukon may look to pool their resources to offer mine training, says Premier Darrell Pasloski.

It’s an idea hatched during his first meeting with Alaska’s governor, Sean Parnell, in Juneau this week.

Alaska already lets Yukoners pay state fees at its universities. Perhaps a similar arrangement could be struck for mine training, said Pasloski.

This summer, Parnell agreed to spend $65 million to upgrade Skagway’s port facilities to accommodate more metal being shipped from the Yukon. The Minto and Bellekeno mines both ship from Skagway. With several other mines expected to begin production soon, the state wants to ensure it can meet these demands.

A port could also help Alaska open mines between Skagway and Juneau, said Pasloski. “There’s no secret that the governor would like to see a road to Juneau.”

Both Pasloski and Parnell also agreed to lobby the U.S. federal government to continue maintaining the Shakwak Highway. This long-standing deal helps pay for roadwork from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska, and from the junction to Beaver Creek.

“Between Haines Junction and Beaver Creek, 85 per cent is U.S. traffic,” said Pasloski. “We need to continue to work to see that the U.S. government will continue to invest in improvements in that.”

Parnell had “very little” to say about the proposed Alaska Highway Pipeline Project, which now appears to be shelved in favour of a plan to ship oil and gas to Asia, said Pasloski.

“At this point they’re still reviewing their options. I expect we’ll have a more clear decision by the end of 2012.”

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com