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YCS helps people get outside and promotes awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the Yukon’s ecosystems.


YCS supports the conservation and protection of Yukon wild places.


YCS supports humane, sustainable and responsible management of wildlife.


YCS is a watchdog for industrial development and researches smart solutions for our territory.

Infograms, Royalties and Technical Papers

Abandoned Mines

This presentation is focused on financial, not environmental, impacts - what happens when a mining company can't pay the bills? Who's on the hook for the cleanup? Which Yukon mines are currently abandoned or in danger of it? And what can concerned citizens do?

Click on the image to get the presentation that was done on Tue Jan 29, 2019 (PDF format, 2MB). Follow up presentations were done in Whitehorse (again), Dawson City, and it is hoped a presentation will be done in October 2019 in Mayo. 


Whitehorse Mining Initiative (1994)

From the Introduction...

"The Canadian mining industry is facing major challenges as it prepares to enter the 21st centruy. Mining helps to make Canada one of the most favoured societies of the world. We are resolved that it should help lead us into an equally bright future. This Accord forges a key to that future. It is a summons to change, framed within the context of a commitment to social and environmental goals. What we seek is a sustainable mining industry within the framework of an envolving and sustainable Canadian society"

"The Mining Association of Canada, on behalf of the mining industry, took a suggestion for a multi-stakeholder process to the mines ministers of all senior governments at their annual conference in Whitehorse in September 1992. The ministers agreed to become co-sponsors and trustees of the process and named it the Whitehorse Mining Initiative. Representatives of five sectors of society agreed to participate. They were the mining industry, senior governments, labour unions, Aboriginal peoples, and the environmental community. Full-scale discussions began in February 1993 and, eighteen months later, culminated in this Accord."

"Four Issue Groups were established, each with a membership drawn from all stakeholders. Members participated as informed individuals and often as representatives of their constituencies. The Issue Groups were named according to the subject they addressed: Finance/Taxation, Environment, Land Access, and Workforce/Workplace/Community. Each produced a set of principles and objectives, and an extended list of more than 150 very specific recommendations."

Part One: The Leadership Council Accord

  1. Whitehorse Minining Initiative Backround
  2. Vision
  3. Principle and Goals
  4. Commitment

Part Two: The Issue Group Reports

  1. Environment Issue Group
  2. Finance and Taxation Issue Group Report
  3. Land Access Issue Group Report
  4. Workplace/Workforce/Community Issue Group Report


  1. Whitehorse Mining Initiative Sector Perspectives
  2. Whitehorse Mining Initiative Participant Lists
  3. Whitehorse Mining Intiative Process Support



YCS has developed some infograms (information sheets) about water contamination caused by mining. These are intended to familarize concerned citizens with what levels of contaminants in water that comes from mine sites that companies should be aiming for. They represent the Maximum Authorized Concentration in a Grab Sample that should be authorized. Sometimes mines refer to the Maximum Authorized Monthly Mean Concentration. This is typically half of what these infograms show. NOTE: These concentrations are not municipal water drinking standards...instead they are essentially end-of-pipe water standards for an operating mine, and they represent the very maximum. Most mines should be aiming for levels below what these infograms show. 

The figures used in the infograms are from Column four of the Canadian Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER): Maximum Authorized Concentration in a Grab Sample (Column Four is the highest number of the MMER regs)...except for Selenium which is from Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Water Quality Guidelines for the protection of Aquatic Life.

Contaminants addressed include the most common environmental contaminants associated with Yukon mining operations:

•             Arsenic (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Copper (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Cyanide (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Lead (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Nickel (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Selenium (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Zinc (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Total Suspended Solids (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

•             Radium (with YCS logo / without YCS logo)

If you want higher quality images, or PDF versions, contact the Yukon Conservation Society mining analyst.



Royalties (and the need to reform them) was part of YCS's submission to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy. There's more information about this on the YCS Mining Legislation Page.

YCS does an occassional op-ed piece in the Yukon News. These pieces have focussed on royalties. Here are some recent ones:

Further to the newspaper articles, there are a couple of papers and submissions to government that migth be of interest to those concerned with the Yukon mining royalty regime:

An useful paper that examines how free entry helps or hinders in the collection of economic rent of minerals was done by Malcolm Taggart for the Canadian Arctic Resource Committee back in 1998. While some of the figures used in the paper are now dated, the analysis is still pertinant. It is availble from the CARC website or by clicking on "The Free Entry Mineral Allocation System In Canada's North: Economics And Alternatives". Another useful paper is "Undermining Our Future : How Mining's Privileged Access to Land Harms People and the Environment - A Discussion Paper on the Need to Reform Mineral Tenure Law in Canada" by Karen Campbell for the West Coast Environmental Law organization. 


Technical Papers

Gaining Ground - Women, Mining, and the Environment (2001): the idea for Gaining Ground: Women, Mining, and the Environment came out of the notable absence of information on how the mining industry impacts women, their families and the communities they live in. This publication was produced by the Yukon Conservation Society and the Yukon Status of Women Council in April 2001. 

U.S. COPPER PORPHYRY MINES: The track record of water quality impacts resulting from pipeline spills, tailings failures and water collection and treatment failures.
EARTHWORKS, July 2012 (Revised 11/2012). Posted with permision of Patagonia Area Resource Alliance.

Acid Mine Drainage: David Coil, PhD1, Erin McKittrick, M.S.2, Andrew Mattox3, Niki Hoagland4, Bretwood "Hig" Higman, PhD5, Kendra Zamzow6,, Last Modified: 18th January 2013. Posted with permission of Patagonia Area Resource Alliance.


Acid Mine Drainage

Acid mine drainage (AMD) refers to the outflow of acidic water from a mining site. In most cases, this acid comes primarily from oxidation of iron sulfide (FeS2, also known as pyrite or "fool's gold"), which is often found in conjunction with valuable metals. Acid mine drainage is a major problem with many hardrock mines, including almost all mines where the metal ore is bound up with sulfur (metal sulfide mines).


The track record of water quality impacts resulting from pipeline spills, tailings failures and water collection and treatment failures.

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