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YESAB recommends against proposed mining road west of Pelly Crossing

Mayo designated office says project will have adverse effects that cannot be mitigated
The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) has recommended against the proposed construction of the Casino-Rude Road project. (Yukon News file)

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB) has recommended against the proposed construction of the Casino-Rude Road project.

The project area is proposed to be approximately 100 kilometres west of Pelly Crossing and 86 kilometres northwest of Minto. It is located within the Selkirk First Nation traditional territory and asserted territory of the White River First Nation.

According to the evaluation report by YESAB, the road is meant to support the exploration work of TMM Goldcorp Inc. in the area. TMM Goldcorp Inc. is the proponent for the project.

The project is proposed to include construction of up to 2.8 kilometres, upgrading of up to 11.1 kilometres, and use of a new year-round road, including the installation of up to two new culverts.

“The road will connect the road system at Rude Creek with the barge landing at the mouth of Britannia Creek on the Yukon River,” the report states.

YESAB’s Mayo designated office recommends the project not be allowed to proceed because it will “result in, or is likely to result in significant adverse effects to ungulates and traditional land use that cannot be mitigated.”

It further added that while direct effects can be mitigated, secondary effects stemming from the permanent loss of key ungulate habitat cannot be adequately mitigated.

The report noted the project overlaps areas that are used for barren-ground and mountain woodland caribou, and for moose.

“Moose and caribou have been selected to represent considerations for ungulates as they have ranges and Wildlife Key Areas (WKAs) that overlap with the proposed road and are most likely to be affected,” the report states.

On the traditional land use, the report said First Nations hold particular rights, interests and values that are connected to the land within which the project is proposed.

“The project has the potential to affect traditional land use directly through disturbance (access use and human presence), and indirectly through adverse effects to wildlife, aquatic resources and heritage resources.”

Before the report was released, the Mayo designated office had solicited views and information from the public on the project from July 5 to Aug. 7, 2023. This included an extension at the request of the White River First Nation. An additional extension period was requested by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Per the report, the decision bodies said they will review the recommendation and accompanying reasons in the evaluation report. A decision document will be issued to either accept, vary or reject the recommendation.

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Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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