Supreme Court sides with Selwyn

The Liard First Nation's attempt to stop further exploration of the Selwyn Project near the southeast Yukon border with the Northwest Territories, has been dismissed in Yukon's Supreme Court.

The Liard First Nation’s attempt to stop further exploration of the Selwyn Project near the southeast Yukon border with the Northwest Territories, has been dismissed in Yukon’s Supreme Court.

The project’s proceedings had adequately met all obligations to the First Nation, so far, said Justice Ron Veale in his decision, delivered on Monday.

In November, Liard First Nation applied to suspend, quash or stay the decision document issued by the territorial government that allowed advanced underground exploration to proceed to the regulatory stage.

The First Nation claimed the environmental assessment and government consultation with them was inadequate.

Liard First Nation also mentioned that Selwyn should take on the liability from the previous owner of the historic audit. In the environmental assessment and Veale’s decision, this issue was noted as “not addressed” and that reclamation would be dealt with in a separate process.

But the First Nation’s main concerns centered around adverse effects to water, caribou, migratory birds and fish.

“The assessment reasonably considers the environmental effects,” said Veale in his decision, but he did mention, “it is notable that the application for the Selwyn Project had to be withdrawn and refiled in order to ensure the assessment process was a meaningful one.”

And while Veale said the “better part of a day,” spent between 11 knowledgeable government employees and members from the First Nation was adequate consultation, he wrote, “I understand that meeting one day and issuing the final decision document the next raises questions.

“(But) it is undoubtedly a considerable improvement” over consultation recently afforded the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, he added.

The 42-page decision ended with Veale sympathizing with the challenges First Nations face trying to participate in mine claims being developed on their land, at such a fast pace.

On Wednesday, Selwyn Resources Ltd. issued a press release stating it was pleased with the court’s decision and outlined it plans to implement the 200,000 tonne underground exploration program.

“The known deposits have the potential for large-scale production, and the potential to provide a secure supply of zinc and lead to meet the future needs of these markets in Asia and beyond,” the release read.

Ninety per cent of the project is located within the Yukon, with only a small part of its southeast end extending into the Northwest Territories. The 7,450 hectares of mineral claims is the consolidation of the Howard’s Pass Joint Venture from Placer Dome and Cygnus Mines Ltd., and Selwyn’s properties. Exploration has already cost them more than $70 million. This further exploration is expected to ring up an additional bill of $65 million.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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

Just Posted

Team Togo member Katie Moen sits in a sled behind a snowmobile for the ride from the airport to Chief Zzeh Gittlit School. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Coming together: How Old Crow became one of the first communities in the world to be fully vaccinated

Team Togo and Team Balto assembled with a mission to not waste a single dose of vaccine

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Patios may be popping up in Whitehorse this summer

City considers program for downtown restaurants and bars

The Yukon Coroner's Service has confirmed the death of a skateboarder found injured on Hamilton Boulevard on May 2. Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News
Whitehorse man dies in skateboarding accident

Coroner urges the use of helmets, protective gear, while skateboarding.

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Most Read