The Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations are seeking public input before crafting new minerals legislation in the territory after acknowledging that laws in place dating back to the Gold Rush are no longer practical.
On Wednesday, the Yukon government and Council of Yukon First Nations announced that the territory would be developing a comprehensive set of new mining laws addressing everything from prospecting to mine operation.
The legislation will be replacing the Placer Act and Quartz Mining Act that have been in place for over 100 years. Government members met yesterday to discuss exploration and mining opportunities in Yukon.
Minister @stbstvdan, @drbrendanhanley and I caught up yesterday to go over the incredible opportunities with critical minerals in the Yukon as well as the collaboration needed across all governments when it comes to Arctic security. pic.twitter.com/YKb0rrHsSE
— Ranj Pillai (@RanjPillai1) February 9, 2023
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The mining sector accounted for 14 per cent on the territory’s economy in 2020 and was the largest sector for Yukon aside from public administration.
The Yukon government and First Nations say the new legislation will be intended to improve the way in which the territory’s mineral resources are managed and to foster competition in the mining industry while protecting the environment.
Various community meetings will be held in Yukon over the next 90 days to gain input from residents and the government has also created an online survey available until May 9 to acquire feedback. A What We Heard document will then be released after that period has concluded.
“The Yukon government is committed to responsible mineral resource development in a way that protects the environment, respects the rights and traditions of First Nations and benefits all Yukoners. We’re asking Yukoners to provide their input to ensure that new minerals legislation reflects the modern needs of our territory,” said John Streicker, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources.
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Yukon has a rich mining history
Yukon is well-known for the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush that occurred in Dawson City. The remote town now has a mere population of about 2,350 people (as of Dec. 2018) but during the gold rush approximately 100,000 people lived there before the regions gold had been depleted by the vast number of prospectors.
Dawson City was actually the Yukon’s capital between 1898-1953 before Whitehorse took its place.
Dawson City is now primarily a historic tourist attraction but gold mining and exploration for other minerals is alive and well in the territory. Companies like Victoria Gold Corp (TSX: VGCX) have major active projects there and the company’s Eagle Mine is the Yukon’s largest gold mining operation.
Other minerals actively mined in Yukon include copper, uranium, zinc, silver and lead.