The Yukon government’s special relationship with a mining company should concern Yukoners, said Whitehorse-based environmental activist Lewis Rifkind of the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS).
The government released a charter on Thursday that it signed in early January with the Western Copper and Gold Corporation.
The document says the charter is meant to ensure the environmental permitting process for the company’s massive Casino Mine proposal is done in a “timely and efficient manner.” Rifkind questions why the company appears to be getting extra assistance from the government.
“I suspect there are probably some other companies out there going, ‘how come this one project gets this level of service, gets its very own signed charter?’,” he said.
The Casino project will receive the highest level of environmental screening ever in Yukon, in part because of plans to build the highest tailings dam in the world. Some similar dams have failed in other jurisdictions.
The charter identifies which officials in the government will be handling what parts of the permitting process. It also lays out who the contact people will be in the bureaucracy for the company.
That sounds like the government is telling its officials they have to ensure the project goes ahead, said Rifkind.
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