Liard First Nation signage in Watson Lake on June 26, 2020. Members of Liard First Nation will have new opportunities for heavy equipment operator training under a new agreement from the Yukon Resource Gateway Program. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)

Liard First Nation signage in Watson Lake on June 26, 2020. Members of Liard First Nation will have new opportunities for heavy equipment operator training under a new agreement from the Yukon Resource Gateway Program. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)

Resource Gateway project will include training for Liard First Nation members

Training began last week for eight students at Yukon University and the Silvertip Mine.

Members of Liard First Nation will have new opportunities for heavy equipment operator training under a new agreement from the Yukon Resource Gateway Program.

“This training initiative is a great first step in preparing our membership for future employment opportunities,” said Liard First Nation Chief Stephen Charlie. “This is only the beginning of such partnerships; that will result in practical hands-on training.”

Training began last week for eight students at the Watson Lake campus of Yukon University and the Silvertip mine.

Through a combination of coursework, simulators and hands-on training, students will be learning heavy equipment operation, including rock trucks, loaders and backhoes. Yukon University will be giving Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and other jobsite training.

Coeur Silvertip Holdings, owner of the Silvertip mine located just below the Yukon border, will provide accommodation for students, trainers and the equipment on which students will train.

Training will prepare for employment in maintenance and construction projects, including upcoming improvements on the Nahanni Range Road and Robert Campbell Highway north of Watson Lake.

The improvements to the Robert Campbell Highway include upgrades for kilometre 114 to 171 between Ross River and Watson Lake. On Nahanni Range Road upgrades will include two bridge replacements and one bridge rehabilitation project.

The agreement is part of the Yukon Resource Gateway Program, which promised partnerships with First Nation communities to provide training while undertaking resource road upgrades.

“Training for Yukoners living in our communities is essential if we want to build our economy. I am happy to be partnering with the Liard First Nation to create more opportunities for its citizens,” said Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn in a statement.

The Yukon Resource Gateway Program was finalized in September 2017 with a $238 million financial commitment from the federal government, $112-million from the Yukon government and an additional $108.6-million from the mining industry.

Federal money was provided under the National Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund.

Other agreements include upgrades to the Freegold Road and a Carmacks bypass with the support of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation and an agreement with the Ross River Dena Council to replace a bridge on North Canol Road.

Contact Haley Ritchie at

Yukon First NationsYukon University

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