City of Whitehorse mulls mineral mining ban within municipal limits – by Katie Todd (CBC News North – February 6, 2024)

Council to debate 2 options next week: prohibit altogether, or require public input

The City of Whitehorse is considering a ban on mineral mining within city limits. The city is looking at proposed changes to its zoning bylaw, as well as the official community plan (OCP), to protect groundwater and reduce disturbance for residents.

One option is rewording both pieces of policy to prohibit mineral exploration and extraction within the entire city. Under current legislation, companies can’t stake new mining claims across most of Whitehorse. But the city’s planning services manager, Peter Duke, said there’s 72 historic claims, kept in good standing, that the city could issue a permit for.

If the new measure comes into force, and companies want to explore or extract minerals using one of those 72 existing claims, Duke said they would have to get both policies amended again. “They would have to apply for an OCP amendment to allow it, as well as a zoning amendment,” he said.

“So there’s still a process. I will say it’s a bit of an arduous process, but there is a process for them to follow should this be successful.” A second option being considered is making mineral exploration and extraction as “conditional” uses of land.

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