Letter to the Editor: Decline in the mining sector - April 17, 2015

Dear Editor

For many years the Yukon Party insisted that the upturn in mining in the territory was the direct result of actions taken by their government.  Now that the mining industry is in decline the government is trying to shift the blame to world mineral prices.

They are trying to have it both ways; taking credit during good times and assigning blame during bad. Indeed, the chickens are coming home to roost. The Yukon Party spent years crowing about how it was responsible for the mining boom in the Yukon and that is had nothing to do with world mineral prices. Now investors fear it’s impossible to open a mine in the territory because of the uncertainly created by this government.  The industry is uneasy because of the Yukon government’s efforts to streamline the permitting process have been met with so much opposition.

The result is we are dropping like a rock on the Fraser Institutes survey on mining.  13% of the Yukon is under a full staking ban because of this government’s unwillingness to work with the First Nation in Ross River.  Another court battle with Yukon First Nations is on the horizon.  While all these events unfold under the government’s watch it refuses to accept any responsibility for the downturn it has helped bring about.  

Furthermore, under the watch of this government the Keno mine closed in 2013 and we had the second lowest GDP growth of any jurisdiction in Canada.  In 2014 spending on mineral exploration dropped 22 %.  Across the border the North West Territories saw a 32-% increase in spending the same year.  2015 began with news the Wolverine Mine would be closing, leaving many Yukon companies owed more than $4 million in unpaid bills.

All this week I asked question after question to the government about whether it would admit that its actions were largely to blame for the trough we are in.  The only answer I received: ‘it’s all the result of world mineral prices.’


Sandy Silver
Leader, Yukon Liberal Party