The company behind a proposed gold mine south of Dawson City has announced the signing of a benefits agreement with a second First Nation potentially affected by the project.
On Dec. 8 the Newmont Corporation, an American mining firm developing the Coffee Gold Project about 130 km south of Dawson City, announced they had signed an impacts and benefits agreement with the White River First Nation (WRFN).
“The agreement is based on a cooperative, collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship between the parties and sets out a forward-looking approach for the Parties to deal with direct impacts to the environment and to White River’s rights, culture and way of life,” a statement from the mining firm reads.
It adds that the agreement supports White River’s participation in the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) process.
The Coffee mine was initially recommended for approval by YESAB without the need for a panel review, the most stringent look at the mine’s impact available. The federal government agencies in charge of making a decision referred the matter back to YESAB’s executive committee for reconsideration in late November.
Training, employment and business opportunities for White River citizens is also included in the agreement.
“Newmont also commits to implement various environmental protection, monitoring and mitigation measures that will integrate traditional knowledge and technological advancements,” the statement from Newmont reads.
Mark Rodgers, a representative of Newmont North America said the company is pleased to have the agreement signed and acknowledged concerns that had been expressed about the project. Rodgers expressed confidence in the framework for consultation, cooperation and economic participation.
“It has been a long process to reach agreement with Newmont. We are pleased that we have found a way of addressing some issues around the environment and our rights in our traditional territory,” said WRFN Chief Bessie Chassé.
“We look forward to cooperating on important matters that affect the land. We recognize that there are issues that Newmont and WRFN cannot address, and we look to Canada and the Yukon Government to deal with larger impacts and accommodations, particularly in relation to cumulative impacts on our rights, culture and way of life.”
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