First Nation ‘encouraged’ by Yukon court ruling on flawed consultations over mine project (CBC News North – January 10, 2024)

Ross River Dena Council asked for judicial review of 2022 approval of Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

A Yukon Supreme Court decision about flawed consultations over a contentious mine project in Kaska traditional territory is being welcomed by First Nations, environmentalists, and the mining company involved.

In a ruling issued last week, Justice Suzanne Duncan found that the Crown largely met its duty to consult First Nations throughout the environmental assessment of the proposed Kudz Ze Kayah mine in southeast Yukon. However, she also found that the Crown failed to give proper consideration to a final, 48-page submission from the First Nations before giving the mine the green light.

“It’s a little bit in our interest that the decision went 50-50,” said Dylan Loblaw, chief of the Ross River Dena Council. The First Nation had asked for the judicial review in 2022, on behalf of the Kaska Nation. The proposed mine is about 260 kilometres northwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, on Kaska traditional territory.

Kaska Nation submitted a 48-page document on June 14, 2022, that outlined significant concerns around environmental contamination, impacts on people and wildlife, and the loss of an area of deep significance to the Kaska people. That document never received a response from decision makers before the decision document was issued the next day, on June 15, 2022.

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