Russians set to mine corporate gold in the Yukon

REVISED VERSION High River Gold Mines Ltd. is planning to move its corporate headquarters to Whitehorse. But the $1-billion Russian company won’t be doing business here.

REVISED VERSION

High River Gold Mines Ltd. is planning to move its corporate headquarters to Whitehorse.

But the $1-billion Russian company won’t be doing business here.

A lax section of the Yukon’s corporate laws makes it easier for companies to conduct business in Canada without being physically present, said Yukon corporate affairs director Fred Pretorius.

High River Gold currently has its headquarters in Toronto.

But there, the company’s board of directors must be 25 per cent Canadian.

Not in the Yukon.

The territory’s corporate laws “make it easier for corporations to function without directors in Canada,” said Pretorius.

To set up corporate headquarters in the territory all High River Gold needs is a local representative – usually a corporate lawyer, he said.

It’s not clear why High River decided on the Yukon, because there are a number Canadian jurisdictions with similarly lax laws, added Pretorius.

“I can’t speculate on why they made that decision,” he said.

But any business is good for the Yukon, even if it’s only a name, said Pretorius.

Besides hiring a local representative, the company could bring in tourism dollars if directors come to visit the territory, he said.

“And they may decide someday to operate here as well.”

There are 4,465 active corporations in the Yukon.

And of those, 2,137 of them are based Outside, said Pretorius.

But many of those have Outside offices as well as Yukon offices, he said.

In the last two years, only seven corporations have completely given up their home jurisdiction and moved to the Yukon, he said.

All corporations have to comply with Yukon laws, pay registrations fees and disclose the relevant information, he said.

The Yukon hasn’t received an application from High River Gold yet, added Pretorius.

The corporation’s shareholders are expected to approve the move at a January 24 meeting in Toronto, according to a Globe and Mail report.

High River did not return requests for comment by press time.

Contact Genesee Keevil at gkeevil@yukon-news.com