Late last week the 2014 Yukon Minerals Advisory Board annual report was released and it opens with the board confirming the worst-kept secret in the Yukon — that there is no investor confidence right now. The report goes downhill from there.
In recent months the Yukon Party government pinned the recession on low mineral prices, but there is no mention of low mineral prices in this report. The board lays the blame squarely on this government and laments the fact that the Yukon is now “predominantly an exploration jurisdiction” and not a mining jurisdiction. The report voices many of the same concerns that I have been raising this session — about this government’s inability to work with First Nations, regulatory uncertainty and our poor performance in the latest Fraser Institute report on mining.
The YMAB report opens by saying it wants to help regain competitiveness and investor confidence in the Yukon. It obviously believes that under this government we are not as competitive as we should be and there is a lack of outside investor confidence in the Yukon right now. This is strong criticism for the Pasloski government from the industry itself. It comes on the heels of comments this winter from a mining executive that it is impossible to open up a mine in the Yukon at the moment.
Another criticism from YMAB is of this government’s refusal to provide the Water Board with adequate resources so it can reasonably meet timelines in processing mining applications.
Despite the fact that the government was well aware of regulatory duplication and uncertainty when it came to office three and a half years ago, it has done little to address it. Yukon is paying the price for this inaction and we are now predominantly an exploration and not a mining jurisdiction, according to YMAB. The government should have been spending the last three and a half years addressing this concern.
The report also references the Mine Licensing Improvement Initiative (MLII) several times. There is a clear urgency to move past talking and actually implement some of the regulatory improvements such as the MLII. The situation has worsened, of course, because of this government’s refusal for the longest time to admit that anything is wrong in the first place.
I know how important mining is to the Yukon economy; and low mineral prices have not helped our situation. If we are to once again be a strong mining jurisdiction steps need to be taken to restore investor confidence in Yukon.
Leader, Yukon Liberal Party
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