WHY DID YUKON FIRST NATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OF YUKON COMMISSION A MINERAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY?
In 2017, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, and Chiefs of the self-governing Yukon First Nations signed a Mining Memorandum of Understanding. The Mining MOU commits the Parties to work collaboratively to improve the management of placer and quartz mining in the Yukon. A specific commitment of the MMOU was the creation of a Yukon Mineral Development Strategy (the “YMDS”), with the goal of having a collective strategy for the management of placer and quartz mineral prospecting, exploration, development, production, reclamation, closure and post-closure management that:
- Respects the special relationship between the Government of Yukon and First Nations governments that sets Yukon apart from other jurisdictions; and
- Creates jobs, strengthens and diversifies our economy, respects environmental stewardship and supports the development of a thriving and prosperous economy that benefits all Yukoners, and recognizes and respects the Yukon First Nations’ special relationship with the land and resource of their respective traditional territories.
In August 2019, Yukon First Nations, represented by Daryn Leas, and Government of Yukon, represented by Ed Van Randen, established an Independent Panel to lead a public engagement process culminating in recommendations for a Yukon Mineral Development Strategy (the “YMDS”). You can read the independent panel’s Terms of Reference, here.
The YMDS recommendations will help Government of Yukon and others to meet Yukon First Nations’ and Government of Yukon’s commitment to the long-term responsible management of Yukon’s mineral resources and to supporting a healthy mining industry that adheres to high environmental standards.
The Independent Panel’s mandate stated the YMDS recommendations should:
- Encompass all aspects of placer and quartz mineral development including prospecting, exploration, development, production, reclamation and post- closure management;
- Be founded on respect for Yukon First Nations’ special relationship with the land and resources in traditional territories; and,
- Support the development of a thriving and prosperous economy that benefits all Yukoners.
You can learn more about the YMDS process here.