Yukon sends Mactung proposal back to assessors

The Yukon government has instructed assessors to take a harder look at how the proposed Mactung mine will affect First Nations.

The Yukon government has instructed assessors to take a harder look at how the proposed Mactung mine will affect First Nations.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board issued its final recommendations on North American Tungsten’s project in March.

It recommended that the proposed tungsten mine, located along the Canol Road near the N.W.T. border, be allowed to proceed, subject to certain terms and conditions.

But the Yukon government, who has ultimate authority over the project, has told the board that those terms and conditions do not give enough consideration to First Nations with a stake in the project.

“The screening report appears to focus exclusively – or almost so – on the potential effects of the project on (the Ross River Dena Council,)” according to the letter to the board, from Joe MacGillivray, deputy minister for the Executive Council Office.

“Yukon is of the view that the executive committee must also consider the potential effects of the project on (the Liard First Nation) and (the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun.)”

The board’s screening report only mentions the Nacho Nyak Dun to acknowledge that the project is within its traditional territory, according to the letter, and has “similar concerns” with respect to the Liard First Nation.

The Yukon government reached this decision through discussions with the First Nations as well as through its own internal review, MacGillivray wrote.

When a project is screened by YESAB’s executive committee, the government cannot simply reject or modify the board’s decision, as it can at lower levels of screening.

It can only approve the recommendation or send it back to the board for reconsideration.

The government also asked the board to take a closer look at its recommendations related to the proposed dry stack tailings facility for the mine, given some inconsistency between the board’s analysis of that aspect of the project and its recommendations.

YESAB is now seeking public comment on the project, considering the instructions of the Yukon government.

The board will accept comments through May 21.

At that point the executive committee will consider both the Yukon government’s instructions and the public comments, and it will develop a revised recommendation for the project.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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