Twitter Instagram Facebook


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.

Joint Statement regarding the Kudz Ze Kayah Referral Conclusion by YESAB

Statement regarding the Kudz Ze Kayah Referral Conclusion by YESAB

Whitehorse, March 31, 2021

A company, BMC Minerals, is proposing mining, construction and mineral processing activities of an open pit and underground copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold mine approximately 115 km southeast of Ross River, 24 km south of Finlayson Lake on the northern edge of the Pelly Mountains, Yukon. This project is known as the Kudz Ze Kayah (KZK) Mine. It will produce an average of 180,000 tonnes (t) of zinc, 35,000 t of copper and 25,000 t lead concentrates annually and is expected to be in operation for a minimum of 10 years.

The mine is situated in the center of the range of the Finlayson Caribou Herd, a population of woodland caribou found east of Ross River in the southeast Yukon. This herd is in serious trouble, with a rapid decline in population. A 2007 census estimates that are about 3,000 members left. This is 1,000 fewer animals than in 1999, and the herd was almost half the size that it was in 1990.

The mine project application has proceeded through the Yukon Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) process, and has resulted in YESAB recommendations that concluded that the project’s significant adverse effects, including to the Finlayson Caribou Herd, can be mitigated through the application of specified terms and conditions.

It is worth noting that the YESAB Executive Committee’s recommendation on the Kudz Ze Kayah project was referred back to the Executive Committee for reconsideration, by the federal Decision Bodies. The main issues of this referral back were to do with concerns from First Nations about risk to their Indigenous rights primarily in regards to caribou, as well as insufficient information on how proposed measures will effectively mitigate impacts on the Finlayson Caribou Herd

However, the Executive Committee is deadlocked and therefore unable, whether by consensus or majority, to issue new recommendations. Consequently, the Executive Committee will be deemed to have reissued its original recommendation of October 21, 2020 at midnight on the night of March 29th, 2021. This means that YESAB is recommending the project can move forward and that significant adverse affects on the Finlayson Caribou Herd can be mitigated.

The Yukon Conservation Society (YCS), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon (CPAWS-Yukon), and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada) respect, but do not agree with, the results of the YESAB Referral Conclusion process which has resulted in a deadlocked YESAB Executive Committee and thus the original recommendations being reissued. We now look to the Decision Bodies on this project (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Yukon Government Executive Council Office Major Projects Yukon) to act responsibly to protect the Finlayson Caribou Herd. We believe the interests of the Finlayson Caribou Herd will be best served by this project being rejected.


30   -


Media Contact(s):

Lewis Rifkind                                                                  Debborah Donnelly

YCS Mining Analyst                                                       YCS Director, Outreach & Communications

867-668-5678 x4                                                           867-668-5678 x1                             




Anne Mease                                                                 Randi Newton

CPAWS Outreach Coordinator                                     CPAWS Yukon Conservation Manager

867-393-8080 ext 1                                                       867-393-8080 ext 2                                 



Don Reid                                                                           Hilary Cooke

WCS Conservation Zoologist                                          WCS Associate Conservation Scientist

867-456-7556                                                                   867-393-2447                                                       

You Can Help

Join YCS as a member, volunteer, or donor to sustain our work. Sign up below to receive bi-weekly emails with YCS news and events.

Connect With Us!