Water board continues to ban Minto rock from Tatchun Creek

The Yukon Water Board will continue to not allow waste rock from Mino mine to be used in any government construction projects while it deliberates whether or not the material is safe.

The Yukon Water Board will continue to not allow waste rock from Mino mine to be used in any government construction projects while it deliberates whether or not the material is safe.

The board issued its order yesterday in response to concerns raised by the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation over the use of waste rock from the copper mine to line Tatchun Creek as part of a bridge replacement project.

When it comes to that particular project, the Yukon government has been ordered to test the waste rock more and monitor Tatchun Creek.

“The manner by which the logistics, assessment licensing and implementation of the Tatchun Creek bridge project evolved, resulted in an unclear state of understanding of the impacts of the project upon a valuable aquatic system,” the board’s decision document says.

Reconstruction of the Tatchun Creek bridge, just north of Carmacks on the Klondike Highway, began this spring.

A recent study has found that even trace amounts of copper in salmon habitat can affect the fish’s ability to navigate and detect predators.

Tatchun Creek is considered a highly productive chinook spawning stream, according to the Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee.

The First Nation approached the water board in late May. It argued that the mine rock does not meet the requirement for the water licence and that testing of the rock has not been adequate enough to prove it will not hurt the environment.

The government countered that the rock is “zero grade,” which means it does not leach metal.

Previous sampling and analysis of rip-rap were done by by third parties other than the Yukon government, the board says in its order.

“The board considers it the responsibility of the licensee to conduct its own sampling and analysis program, allowing for direct verification of the veracity of the results,” the decision document says.

“Sampling protocols and criteria for the rip-rap in question were unclear and inadequately documented. Further, given the importance of the receiving environment and the deviation of the source material origin, the board expects all sampling to be conducted in a matter that identifies the maximum possible effect of the rip-rap within the aquatic system.”

If it’s found that the rock has a negative impact on the environment, the board says it may order corrective action. For now, it needs more information.

It has promised a final decision by June 18. The order will remain in place until at least that date, though the board reserves the right to extend the deadline.

Contact Ashley Joannou at


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

Just Posted

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read