First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun demands a halt to mining on its traditional territory

Victoria Gold's Eagle Gold Mine (Photo: vcgx.com)

Media release also calls for an independent investigation and review into June 24 heap-leach failure at Eagle Gold Mine

The First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun is demanding an immediate halt to mining activity on its traditional territory.

Following the June 24 heap-leach failure at Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold Mine, the First Nation issued a statement calling for all mining activity on its traditional territory to stop until a land use plan exists.

The release says that over 80,000 claims are within First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun territory, accounting for nearly half of all mining activity in the Yukon.

First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Dawna Hope says in the release that her nation has been sounding the alarm on the need for responsible mining for decades.

”The integrity of our lands, people and ecosystems are our top priority,” said Hope in the release. “All mining activity must pause until there is a land use plan that limits development and includes rigorous oversight and enforcement of mining and industrial operations on our Territory.”

“We will pursue every available avenue, including legal options, to protect and preserve our rights and to ensure that this environmental catastrophe is addressed and the lands and waters of our Territory are safe for the fish, wildlife, and people that have relied on them for generations.”

The release also calls for an independent investigation and review of the heap-leach failure at Eagle Gold Mine, which the First Nation calls “the region’s most recent and potentially catastrophic mining failure.”

According to the release, the severity of cyanide contamination from the Eagle Gold Mine incident has not been publicly conveyed. Cord Hamilton, a consultant working with the First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, voiced the same concern at a technical briefing last Friday.

The Government of Yukon is holding weekly technical briefings on the heap-leach failure as needed this summer.

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