Government of Yukon collaborating with Yukon First Nations to develop new mining legislation

In collaboration with Yukon First Nations, the Government of Yukon is developing new mining legislation that will improve the management of the Yukon’s mineral resources in a way that respects First Nations’ relationships with the land and supports a modern and sustainable mining industry. The new legislation will work to improve the territory’s regulatory system, strengthen the Yukon’s economy, protect the environment and support the modern day needs of the Yukon.

In accordance with commitments set out in the 2003 Yukon Devolution Transfer Agreement, a steering committee was established to coordinate this work and provide a platform where the Yukon and First Nations governments can work together to develop new mining legislation. New mining legislation will replace the current Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act. This steering committee will also ensure that industry, non-governmental organizations and the public have meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute to this important work.

In 2017, the Government of Yukon and self-governing Yukon First Nations signed a Mining Memorandum of Understanding (MMOU) to work together government-to-government to achieve concrete improvements to the management of mineral resources in the Yukon. In 2018, as part of the Joint Priority Action Plan developed through the Yukon Forum, an agreement was reached that clarifies how resource royalties are shared under Chapter 23 of the Final Agreements.  Following recommendations from the MMOU Main Table, an independent panel was struck in 2019 to develop the Yukon’s first ever Mineral Development Strategy. The panel undertook an inclusive engagement process involving First Nations, industry, stakeholders and interested Yukoners to determine how to enhance Yukon’s mineral investment climate while respecting the rights and traditions of Yukon First Nations, upholding environmental standards and improving regulatory certainty. In April, 2021, the independent panel released the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy and Recommendations.

Yukon First Nations and the Government of Yukon thank the independent panel and those who contributed to the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy and Recommendations. The strategy and recommendations provide considerable insight regarding the interests and values of Yukoners and will be considered through the government-to-government process to develop new mining legislation.

We heard from Yukoners, First Nations, the mining industry and many others that new mining legislation is a key priority to modernize Yukon’s mineral resource sector. As listed in my 2021 mandate letter from Premier Silver, I am pleased to confirm that the Government of Yukon has initiated the process to develop the new legislation that will replace the Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act. This new legislation will create a modern, sustainable mining industry in the territory that reflects present day treaties, respects First Nations unique connection to the land and supports the emerging needs of the Yukon.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker

New mining legislation for the Yukon is urgently needed and long overdue. Simply put, the current legislative regime for mineral development in the Yukon is an obstacle to reconciliation. We have experienced first-hand the impacts of this sorely outdated regime on our citizens, our land, and our culture. Mining in the Yukon must be done in a responsible way, with respect for First Nations' rights and ways of life. Our new legislative regime must take as its starting point the commitments in the Final Agreements. We are pleased that Yukon is, at long last, initiating this important process. We look forward to participating as full and equal partners with public government and other First Nations governments to co-develop new mining legislation.

First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn

New mining legislation is essential in ensuring that the future management of mining activities reflects the rights, interests and values of Yukon First Nations. We are eager to see this important work begin and we look forward to participating in the collaborative processes.

Council of Yukon first Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston

Quick facts 
  • Minister Streicker’s Mandate Letter recommends working with Yukon First Nations governments, industry and stakeholders to develop successor resource legislation with a goal of modernizing Yukon’s mineral resource sector.

  • The Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations have established a steering committee to undertake the development of new legislation to replace the Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act. This process was agreed to in the 2003 Yukon Devolution Transfer Agreement.

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
Government of Yukon
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

Sue Thomas
Communications, Energy, Mines and Resources
867-667-5809
sue.thomas@yukon.ca

Lael Lund
Communications Manager, Council of Yukon First Nations
867-393-9200 ext. 9223
communications@cyfn.net

News release #: 
21-344