Mining industry fears changes to legislation could end free entry staking in Yukon – by Nancy Thomson (CBC News Canada North – July 2, 2018)

Prospectors association worried changes to Quartz Mining Act will give rights exclusively to First Nations

The Yukon Prospectors Association and the Yukon Chamber of Mines fear that proposed amendments to the Quartz Mining Act will jeopardize “free entry” staking in the territory.

The Yukon Prospectors Association sent a letter to Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai on July 18, revealing deep anxiety about the proposed changes.

In the letter obtained by the CBC, the association said the information it received from the government about the changes was vague, but that it believes the changes will give staking rights exclusively to First Nations, excluding everyone else. Currently, Yukon’s free entry system allows any prospector to enter onto public lands and explore for minerals.

The Yukon government’s website announced the opening of consultation on changes to the Quartz Mining Act on July 20. The website says the government is proposing amendments “to enable further reconciliation with First Nations and to advance remediation of some of Yukon’s abandoned Type II mine sites.”

It said the amendments would not affect existing claims, public lands that are available for staking, or permanently protected lands.

However, the Yukon Prospectors Association’s letter to the minister says changes would mean “the Yukon government, and future Yukon governments will have the power to give staking rights exclusively to First Nations citizens … their governments and partners, excluding all other persons and companies.”

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