Yukon miners fear ‘uncertainty’ following Peel decision (CBC News North – December 03, 2014)


 People in the mining industry are questioning Yukon’s land use planning process in the wake of yesterday’s Peel court decision.

“The way it’s currently being undertaken is creating uncertainty for industry,” says Samson Hartland, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

Yukon Supreme Court Judge Ron Veale ruled yesterday that the government must return to the planning process for the Peel watershed, a wilderness the size of Nova Scotia and home to four First Nations.

In 2011, the Yukon government rejected the final recommendations from the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, which called for 80 per cent of the area to be protected from development, in favour of its own plan, which provided protection for less than 30 per cent of the area.

But if the government’s aim was to create certainty for industry, it’s not working. Marc Blythe is the president of Tarsis Resources, which has more than a dozen properties in Yukon, including some claims in the Peel. He says the Peel process raises concern for those who’ve invested in the territory about what’s going to happen next.

“Suddenly you’ve got a bit of a question mark as to whether or not those activities and moving those claims forward would be OK or not.”

Blythe says the process in the Peel was clouded by overblown fears.

“Really the only things that would ever be mined there without this kind of protection is things that were particularly attractive economically and there’s very few of those in Yukon, much less in the Peel.”

Blythe says he does not believe there is consensus among Yukoners to close large regions of the territory to mining.

Hartland, from the chamber of mines, says planning should be done through talking, not courtroom showdowns.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-miners-fear-uncertainty-following-peel-decision-1.2858655