Mining issues dominate upcoming Yukon elections – by Dorothy Kosich ( – September 23, 2011)

Yukon New Democrats want to increase mining royalty rates to help pay for education, health and social programs. Yukon Liberals and the Yukon Party are against the proposal.

RENO, NV –  Mining royalties and other mining issues may define differences among the Yukon Territory’s political parties as voters go to the polls on October 11, the day after the Canadian Thanksgiving.

The Yukon economy is doing well thanks to record high mineral prices, resulting in a mining exploration boom, three new hardrock mines and nearly 100 placer mines.

This week Yukon New Democrats Party leader Liz Hanson announced the Yukon Resource Legacy Fund, which will be financed by “a reasonable increase in hard rock, placer gold, and other mineral and non-renewable resource royalties.” The amount of the increase would be determined through consultation with mining industry experts and economists, as well as the public to determine a fair rate of return.

The fund would be similar to Alberta’s Heritage Fund which collects oil and gas royalties to help pay for education, health and social programs. The Yukon Resource Legacy Fund would also be used “to invest in upgrading Yukon Energy infrastructure to reduce outages and make the system more dependable.”

Yukon Party leader Darrell Pasloski called Hanson’s proposal anti-mining, anti-good jobs and anti-economic development. The Yukon Party now controls the territorial government.

The Yukon Chamber of Mines has also announced its opposition to the royalty rate proposal.

Yukon Liberal Party leaders also pledged that “a Liberal government will take the necessary steps to ensure Yukoners reap the benefits of strong global mineral prices.”

Among those steps are “negotiating an improved resource royalty sharing agreement with the Government of Canada.” Currently the Yukon is only allowed to collect C$3 million in resource revenues, while the Northwest Territories are allowed to keep half of its royalties, up to a certain percentage.

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