The territory is mulling amendments to the Quartz Mining Act that could allow First Nation governments greater control in who can enter into an area for staking, prospecting and mining purposes.
The possibility has raised some “alarm bells” with the Yukon Chamber of Mines. That’s according to Samson Hartland, the chamber’s executive director, who worries it could change the free-entry approach that the territory has long permitted.
Noting that a significant portion of his membership’s livelihoods depend on this, he told the Star today the amendments looks “like the potential erosion of that system as we know it.”
His comments come after correspondence from the assistant deputy minister of strategic alliances, a branch with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Signed by John Bailey, it served as notice about a 45-day engagement period on the proposed changes that Hartland confirmed he had received July 6.
Both the Yukon government and Council of Yukon First Nations were unable to respond to the issue this morning. The letter reads in part that amendments “would support agreements that the Yukon government may enter into with First Nations to allow only the First Nation or their designated entity to enter land for the purpose of locating mineral claims and prospecting and mining.”
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