Letters to the editor.

This week’s mailbox: the Brewery Creek lawsuit, rent caps and litter fairies

Brewery Creek lawsuit raises questions

Mining regulations and financial security are meant to protect people from the environmental and financial risks attached to exploration and mining. Simply put, they’re tools regulators use to try and make sure that the costs of development don’t outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately, these tools aren’t always put to proper use.

A glaring example is Wolverine Mine, where the Yukon government was slow to calculate and collect financial security. Yukon Zinc walked away from the mine and $25 million in outstanding security, leaving taxpayers with the bill for water treatment costs, plus unknown millions for future clean up.

The recent lawsuit brought against the Yukon Government by a former chief mining engineer raises serious questions if much has changed. The lawsuit alleges that Yukon Government ignored the engineer’s assessment of the Brewery Creek project, where he found Golden Predator would owe $12 million in security to restart the mine. Instead, he claims that the government cleaved $11 million off his assessment without explanation, leaving security for Brewery Creek at $1 million.

An explanation for the alleged 92 per cent discount isn’t available, since Yukon Government doesn’t publicly share how it calculates mining security, only the total held for each project. Scanning through these totals, available on the Yukon Government mining security website, actually raises more questions than it answers.

An even figure of $1 million in security for Brewery Creek stands out as odd against other more exacting amounts, like the $30,780,939 held for the Eagle Gold Mine. Where did this round number come from, when financial security is typically calculated to the dollar, based on spreadsheets chock full of the estimated costs to clean up a site?

Scanning further down the list of security totals raises even more questions about adequate security coverage, like why does the government only hold $672 for the Casino exploration project? Yes, this project is in the exploration phase, so the project liability and resulting amount held in security will be lower than an operating mine. But how is it that the damage deposit for my 1,300 square foot apartment is more than double what Yukon Government holds for an 1,100 claim project that includes trails, trenching, bulk sampling, overburden waste dumps, fuel storage, an airstrip and a camp?

The answers to these questions should be easier to find. Moving forward, mining security calculations should be done through a third party, independent of the mining company and the Yukon Government. Calculations should also be transparent and subject to public scrutiny. One avenue would be to ask YESAB to incorporate a review of security as part of the socio-economic and environmental assessment process. For those who argue that financial security calculations should be confidential due to corporate competitiveness concerns, it’s worth noting that the Yukon Water Board hearings for large mines include a review of financial security calculations relating to water issues. Reviewing security early in the assessment process will enhance public confidence, ensure financial security covers all aspects of a project’s potential closure and remediation, and allow regulators to fulfill their duty to shield the public from environmental and financial risks.

Randi Newton

Conservation Manager for CPAWS Yukon

To a litter fairy

To whomever cleaned up the parking areas and dog walk trails on the east side of Schwatka….what a good job! So pleasant and much appreciated. Thank you.

Kathy Piwowar


To the Yukonomist

The classic eco-default of comparing the Yukon’s carbon footprint to other countries with mild or no winter, full transportation infrastructure and miniscule land mass is comparing foxes to elephants.

When the Yukon has rail systems connecting all our communities and all our towns have stores, farms, shopping malls, factories and high rises, and when our winters become three months long THEN comparatives can be made.

Chris Caldwell


Letter to the Editor

Just Posted

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Most Read