Math’ieya Alatini, from left, Doug Eaton and Angus Robertson, members of an independent panel tasked with engaging Yukoners in order to develop a new mining strategy, met in Whitehorse on September 19. Timelines related to engagement have been extended due to COVID-19. (Julien Gignac/Yukon News file)

Timelines extended for Yukon Mineral Development Strategy

A panel developing a mineral strategy that involves all 11 self-governing Yukon First Nations has extended the timelines for its engagement process due to COVID-19.

A three-person independent panel had planned on holding a series of open houses in Yukon communities beginning this spring on the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy, which was born out of a memorandum of understanding the Yukon and First Nations governments signed in 2017.

The open houses are part of the panel’s strategy on getting as much feedback as possible from Yukoners on all aspects of mining in the territory, from its impacts on the economy to socio-economic matters and the environment.

Following that, the panel is to put forward recommendations to the Yukon government and First Nations, which was originally set to happen in early 2021.

However, a message on the development strategy’s website says that the timeline for the engagement portion of the process is being extended due to the impacts of COVID-19 on public gatherings.

“All community open houses have been postponed until public health officials deem it safe to host public events,” a message on the website says. “We will announce the new dates as they are scheduled.”

All public presentations to the panel have also been postponed.

People can continue to share their thoughts with the panel via video, audio or written submissions online, via a toll-free number (1-877-321-1233), an online survey and an online discussion forum. More details are available at yukonmds.com.

“We remain committed to ensuring that the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy process is one that works for Yukoners,” the message says. “Thank you for your understanding as we adapt to a rapidly evolving situation.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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