In recognition of Yukon Mining and Geology Week 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m also happy to rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week. Mining and exploration are such an important and integral part of our community. Both contribute greatly to our economy, bringing jobs and wealth and supporting our local businesses. They provide the opportunity for community members to educate and train themselves, creating a more diverse and successful workplace. More often than not, mining and exploration companies will pair with the nearest communities to create a community wellness program. These types of initiatives are just the beginning. The list goes on and on, Mr. Speaker.

A strong and vibrant mining and exploration sector is prosperous only with transparent permitting, clearly defined and enforced regulations, solid remediation practices and a partnership with all affected peoples and governments. If those criteria are met here in the Yukon, our mining sector will have the room to grow, while maintaining a balanced approach to the environment and the social fabric of our territory.

Dawson City is a mining town, Mr. Speaker. Developed as a boom town during the Klondike Gold Rush, it has been a stable placer mining community throughout many stages of mining practices. It started with the old-fashioned shafting, digging deep into the ground over the winter months to collect pay dirt. It soon developed into a process of using steam to thaw the gravel, until finally into hydraulic mining, which is the process we currently use today. It is a perfect example of how the progression of technology, environmental factors and clear regulations push the industry forward, increasing efficiencies, but also decreasing their environmental footprint.

The Yukon’s mining and exploration sector has become more than just a placer industry. We have gold, lead, zinc, silver, copper and many other commodities extracted in the past 50 years or so. Without the proper supports in place, mining and exploration will lose its vigour. I believe that a strong mining and exploration sector can have a positive effect on our communities and people, if done properly.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize Kluane First Nation ChiefMathieya Alatini for her recent appointment as Yukon Women in Mining champion. I know there will be a tribute coming up for this. This recognition is placed on an individual man or woman who contributes to the inclusion and to the advancement of women in mining. I just want to say that this is a well-deserved appointment and I am grateful to have someone like Mathieya advocating the industry for women. I want to congratulate her. Being the MLA for the Klondike, of course, I talk about the placer industry, but I have to give a nod also to Kaminak and to Kaminak’s president and CEO, Eira Thomas. Through her leadership, this company has earned the respect of the Dawson placer miners. It has earned the respect of our business community, of our mayor and council and our chief and council as well. The company understands the importance of community engagement and, in doing so, I’m extremely optimistic for the production of this company and that range in general, and for the future, and for the economic benefits for my community and for Yukoners at large.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.