Put mining on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, say Yukon First Nations – by Mike Rudyk (CBC News North – March 31, 2020)


Mining camps with fly-in workers pose risk to communities, says Na-Cho Nyak Dun chief

Some Yukon First Nations want the territorial government to put a stop to any mining or staking in the territory during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation says Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold Mine operations, with hundreds of workers on a rotating shift schedule, are an enormous risk to the community.

The mine is about 85 kilometres from Mayo. Many of the hundreds of workers come from outside Yukon. Na-Cho Nyak Dun Chief Simon Mervyn wrote an open letter to Premier Sandy Silver last week, saying that having mines open during the pandemic puts the nearby community of Mayo in danger, particularly the elders who live there.

“We are calling on the Yukon government to immediately implement stronger measures to protect remote and Indigenous communities such as [Na-Cho Nyak Dun],” the letter reads. “We cannot protect our citizens alone; we need your help.”

Mervyn’s letter goes on to say that mines be put into care and maintenance mode until the crisis has ended. He also asks for a temporary halt on staking.

Last week, Victoria Gold company president John McConnell insisted the Eagle Gold Mine would keep operating, and he offered assurance that there are protective measures in place at the mine.

For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-mining-covid-nacho-nyak-1.5516670

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