Unprecedented decision prompted by concerns over caribou and tailings management
The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) has sent the massive, and controversial, Casino Mine project for the highest level of review, the first time that’s happened in YESAB’s 10-year history.
YESAB’s executive committee announced the move Thursday, at a rare media conference in Whitehorse. The board said the Casino Mine project raises serious concerns about impacts on caribou, and tailings and waste management.
Ken McKinnon of YESAB’s executive committee said the decision “was not taken lightly.” “In making this decision, the executive committee took into account the information and the mitigative measures included in the project proposal,” he said.
The Casino Mining Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Copper and Gold, is planning to build what would be the Yukon’s biggest mine, about 400 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse.
If the mine is approved, the company says it could produce more than 400,000 ounces of gold annually and more than 200 million pounds of copper. It says the mine could employ up to 1,000 people at peak construction, and have a life of about 22 years.
YESAB’s executive committee has not done a full assessment of the project’s potential impacts. That work is now the responsibility of the panel that will undertake the review. Panelists will be YESAB members, appointed by the executive committee.
The review, which will include public hearings, is required to be done within 15 months.
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