A report into the socio-economic trends relating to a Yukon copper, gold and silver mine is shedding light on its impact on the local economy.
The Minto Mine Socio-economic Monitoring Program compiled a report tracking trends related to the mine between 2016 and 2018. It was recently released by the Selkirk First Nation, Minto Explorations Ltd. and the Yukon government.
The open-pit and underground mine, located about 240 km southwest of Pelly Crossing, commenced production in 2007 but was closed for a year between October 2018 and October 2019 amid a change in ownership. The socio-economic monitoring program began in 2014 and will continue to follow the mine through its production and closure phases.
The monitoring report identifies the mine’s positive impacts on the economy.
Between 2016 and 2018, approximately 50 per cent of Minto Mine employees were Yukon residents. Of those, 11 per cent were SFN citizens. As of 2018, the mine employed 23 SFN citizens, a figure which Minto and SFN say has been steadily increasing since 2008. A further 13 per cent of the workers employed between 2016 and 2018 were from other First Nations.
The report notes that Selkirk citizens were increasingly employed in semi-skilled rather than entry-level positions.
“These reports highlight our successes and help us focus on priority areas. Our government continues to work for the betterment of our community,” said SFN deputy chief Morris Morrison.
Almost all of the conditions in Pelly Crossing and the surrounding area studied by the monitoring report showed an improving or neutral trend over the time period captured by the study.
“Minto Explorations is proud of the tripartite efforts to detail the socio-economic impacts of the Minto Mine Operation here in the Yukon. This report outlines the many contributions of Minto Explorations and is an important step in moving forward with initiatives to improve the benefits for all Yukoners and Selkirk First Nation,” said Chris Stewart, the mining company’s president.
“Minto looks forward to announcing new initiatives in 2021 aligned with recommendations contained within this report.”
The report on the 2016 to 2018 monitoring contains a number of recommendations for the future. It recommends continuing the work on training programs with Yukon University and the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM).
It also asks for further reporting on the number of employees or contractors who have taken training programs with a focus on identifying the number of First Nations workers, Selkirk First Nations citizens and Yukoners. The report states that it would be useful to seek information on rates of successful graduation from training programs for SFN and Northern Tutchone citizens.
The report recommends a discussion of housing-related programs as housing conditions for SFN citizens, particularly in Pelly Crossing, remain an ongoing concern.
It also recommends future socio-economic monitoring evaluate the impacts of the mine’s temporary closure and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement from Premier Sandy Silver expresses support for the recommendations and continuing work on increasing job opportunities for Selkirk First Nation citizens, addressing housing issues and delivering more education and training opportunities.
“The report shows the benefits and positive outcomes a mine can have when they work with the respective First Nation and community. This engagement and consultation is an example of why Yukon’s responsible, ethical mining industry is a leader globally. When cooperation, engagement and focus on management and monitoring occurs, all Yukoners benefit,” said Yukon Chamber of Mines president Ed Peart about the results of the report.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com