Peel miner seeks access or compensation

The Yukon government's new plan for the Peel watershed is not friendly enough to development, says the president of a company with claims in the area. Tarsis Resources Ltd.

The Yukon government’s new plan for the Peel watershed is not friendly enough to development, says the president of a company with claims in the area.

Tarsis Resources Ltd.‘s Goz Creek zinc deposit now finds itself in the middle of a protected area.

Marc Blythe said the government should reduce protections around the company’s claims or pay for the expropriation of the resource.

“Even though the government has grandfathered our claims, I think it would be quite difficult for us to get community licence to move that project forward,” said Blythe.

“I think Canadians generally, when they see something designated as protected area, they don’t expect that there’s potentially a donut going to be carved in that by a mine.”

Being surrounded by protected areas would make it a lot harder to develop the project, he said.

“We’d like to see them either put a buffer zone around our project, so that there’s a clear demarcation between us and any protected area, and that would also allow us the potential to expand for infrastructure and to make sure that we can capture all the mineralization that’s there.

“Or, alternatively, we’d like them to expropriate it and compensate us for that. And we think that either option is reasonable.”

But the future of the government’s plan for the Peel is uncertain for an unrelated reason.

First Nations with territory in the area have sued the Yukon government, sayings its plan does not live up to their agreements.

They would like to see the plan recommended by the Peel planning commission implemented instead.

Under that plan, Tarsis’s Goz Creek claims would be surrounded by an even higher level of protection, as no roads would be permitted to access the mine site.

Blyther attended the Vancouver news conference where the chiefs of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in and the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun announced the lawsuit, he said.

“I do think that where a government makes an agreement with a First Nation they should definitely abide by the terms and conditions of that agreement. Ultimately the court will decide if they have or haven’t.”

The Goz Creek claims date back to 1973, said Blythe. They are located in the southeast corner of the watershed.

“This wasn’t something that was just dreamed up to try and get compensation or anything like that. This is a long-standing project that’s been around, and is well known and documented.”

Beneath the claims there is a defined, high-grade zinc resource, he said. It’s currently fairly small but the company believes it could be much bigger.

“Obviously it’s a remote project as well. We recognize that. That’s part of the reason it hasn’t been developed or mined completely by now.”

A sustained upswing in zinc prices could make a mine economically viable on Goz Creek, said Blythe.

“One of the things that really disappoints me about where the whole discussion on the Peel has gone is that there’s been this whole sense put forward by environmental interests that mining can’t co-exist peacefully with other activities in the Peel. I think that’s just wrong. I think that mining can definitely co-exist in there with other interests. We’re talking about an area the size of Ireland. It’s huge.”

It’s a myth that the Peel is untouched wilderness, he said. In fact, there have been extensive exploration campaigns in the area.

He’s seen one figure of $150 million spent on exploration in total, he said.

“For an area to have $150 million spent on mineral exploration on it and still be called pristine, I think that’s probably a testament to the quality of the work that’s been done by companies in that area.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read