Yukon Mineral Development Strategy
The Public Engagement Stage of the YMDS Process has now closed. The Independent Panel expects to release its What We Heard report in early October and its draft recommendations in December. For details visit YMDS Website.
A second written submission was provided on July 16th, 2020.
Yukon Conservation Society Top Four 'Asks" For The YMDS
1. Reform Free Entry Staking - The Yukon must reform its mineral staking policy. Major exploration or mine development staking claims must be assessed for their socio-economic and environmental impacts.
2. Yukon Needs Impact Benefit Agreements - A requirement for a community benefits agreement should be included in the new Yukon mineral legislation.
3. Increase The Royalties - For every privately mined ounce of placer gold, largely mined by outside corporations, the Yukon public receives 37.5 cents. The price of an ounce of gold in mid August of 2020 was over two thousand dollars an ounce. For quartz metals (such as gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc etc.), the calculation is complicated and still yields unfair prices for publicly-owned resources. Royalty rates for placer and quartz mining must be reformed.
4. Make The Companies Perform And Pay For Mine Closure - All mineral development and exploration must include a reclamation plan. Developed mines must also include a closure plan that includes monitoring. The costs for closure and reclamation must be fully-covered by the mine owners through a pre-work security fund. If a pre-work security fund is not provided, mineral development proposals must not be accepted.
A final submission on the Draft MDS was made by YCS on February 17, 2021.
Free Entry System
The Yukon has the the free entry system of mining claim staking. Essentially, this means anywhere in the Yukon can be staked unless it has been specifically withdrawn by Government legislation. To show how this can impact the landscape, watch this animated picture showing how the central Yukon landscape was staked from Mar 16, 2009 to Nov 28, 2011. One of the many drawbacks with the free-entry system is that almost anywhere can be staked.
An Act to Amend the Yukon Placer Mining Act and the Yukon Quartz Mining Act has now been debated and passed by the Yukon Legislature. These ammendments are due to the legal ruling of Ross River Dena Council v. Government of Yukon, 2012 YKCA14. Further information is posted on the Yukon Government website. Here are the Yukon Conservation Society comments re: the Yukon Government's June 2013 Discussion Paper on Class 1 Mining Land Use as it relates to the Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act review.
Whitehorse Municipal Staking Moratorium
YTG and City of Whitehorse Staking Moratorium: On July 19, 2012 YTG announced a staking moratorium for about 74% of land within Whitehorse municipal boundaries. The press release can be read here.
Free Entry and Economic Rent
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.
Letter from YCS to Bryony McIntyre, Manager, Mineral Planning and Development
Related News & Events
May 1, 2020
On May 1st, the Yukon Conservation Society presented some of our concerns around existing mining legislation to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy (YMDS) panel. YCS anticipates sending additional comments to the YMDS over the ongoing consultation process. All Yukoners are invited to submit their own comments via the panel's website.