Whitehorse: Liberal Leader Sandy Silver used question period to ask about a mineral staking ban that covers 13% of the Yukon and is close to reaching its one year anniversary under the Cathers/Pasloski government. The ban came in effect in December, 2013, after the Government of Yukon’s failure to negotiate an agreement with the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) over what lands would be open to staking in RRDC territory.
“In 2013, as a result of another legal battle with a First Nation government, the Yukon government was under a court order to find a way to work with the Ross River Dena Council on what land would be available for staking in their traditional territory,’ said Silver. “I asked the Minister in November 2013 if he would be forced into placing a staking moratorium in the Ross River traditional territory due to this court order. He successfully avoided answering that question in this house however we found out days after the legislative session concluded that this government was unable to reach an agreement with Ross River on what area would be withdrawn. So, in lieu of said agreement, the entire 63,000 square km area is still off the table”
The staking ban has been extended twice and now stretches until January of 2015.
“Almost 13% of the Yukon is off limits to staking because of this government’s frayed relationship with the RRDC,” said Silver. “This government’s strained relationship with First Nation governments is not good for the economy as it marginalizes the mining industry. It must be difficult for the Yukon Party to come across as pro-mining with an on-going inability to work with first nation governments when it comes to the resource sector.”
Silver is concerned that First Nation governments don’t trust the Yukon Party to treat them fairly and are increasingly turning to the courts to settle disputes.
“This government’s approach keeps lawyers busy, but overall our economy is suffering because of it,” he said. “Exploration companies have been shut out of this area for almost a year.”
For additional information contact:
Brad Weston, 393-6430
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