Northern First Nations Call for Mining Regime Overhaul

    The Northern Nations have made a joint submission to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy Panel in areas of similarity, but will be making individual submissions respecting the unique interests of their diverse communities and how mining affects each of them differently.

    The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, and the Vuntut Gwitchin Government are calling for modernization of the Yukon's Placer Mining Act and Quartz Mining Act in submissions to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy ("YMDS"). The submissions also outline fundamental changes needed to the Yukon's mineral resources regime.

    Noting the Yukon's political and legal landscape has changed in the last forty years, the submissions point out that the Yukon's mineral regime is still rooted in a different era and largely unchanged for more than a century. The new mining regime must uphold the spirit and intent of the Final Agreements, encourage Sustainable Development, and provide Yukon First Nations with a meaningful role in the management of public resources through co-management and co-governance.

    While making the case for modernization of the Yukon's mineral resources regime, the submissions highlight that development of new legislation is not sufficient. Successor resource legislation must also be accompanied by progress in land use planning that's supported by interim land withdrawals.

    The Northern Nations have made a joint submission to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy Panel in areas of similarity, but will be making individual submissions respecting the unique interests of their diverse communities and how mining affects each of them differently.

    The Northern Nations encourage other Yukon First Nations, stakeholders, and the public to make submissions to the YMDS Panel, as everyone is affected by outdated mining laws. The Public Engagement period ends Aug. 31, 2020.

    Chief Tizya-Tramm said in a statement, "The Vuntut Gwitchin Government stands in solidarity with the Northern Nations and recognizes the importance of modern legislation, co-drafted with First Nations, similar to what was achieved with the Yukon's Oil and Gas Act. The vision and contribution of First Nations to resource management is paramount, and deserves to be acknowledged."

    Through the Devolution Transfer Agreement signed in 2001, the Yukon Government and all eleven Self-Governing Yukon First Nations agreed to work together on recommendations for new mining legislation. The work of the YMDS Panel is one of the steps in this long-overdue process.

    The Yukon Mineral Development Strategy Panel is an independent panel appointed by the Yukon Government and Self-Governing Yukon First Nations Leadership to provide the Yukon Government and Self-Governing Yukon First Nations with recommendations for a new mining regime.

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