Today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon have come to a joint decision that concludes the environmental and socio-economic assessment process for the Kudz Ze Kayah project. The project can now proceed to the regulatory phase.
In the decades ahead, exponential growth is forecast in global demand for products such as solar panels, fuel cells, wind turbines and electric vehicles. These products will help the world transition to a green and digital economy. Critical minerals are essential to many of these clean and advanced technologies, and Canada is uniquely positioned to become a supplier of choice, leveraging its mining, processing and manufacturing expertise; its world-leading environmental, social and governance credentials; and its various high-potential, critical minerals–rich regions. The Yukon supports responsible mineral resource development that is carried out in an environmentally responsible way and addresses socio-economic impacts while providing benefits to Yukoners.
The Kudz Ze Kayah project, proposed by BMC Minerals, is an open-pit and underground silver, copper, gold, lead and zinc mine development located approximately 115 kilometres southeast of Ross River, Yukon. Work will next advance to the permitting phase for the project, which is expected to have a construction period of approximately two years followed by an estimated 10-year mine life.
The project is anticipated to inject up to $720 million in capital expenditures into Canadian and Yukon economies over its life, providing up to 500 construction-related jobs and 400 operational jobs for Kaska First Nations, Yukoners and Canadians. The project will pay direct taxes and royalties to the federal and Yukon governments in the order of $620 million.
A decision document has been issued that varies the project terms and conditions recommended by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, following a screening under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. The joint decision was made following Indigenous consultations and full consideration of the potential impacts of the project on the Finlayson caribou herd, as well as through the development of varied terms and conditions and additional caribou data analysis. One of the additional conditions in the decision document includes the establishment of a Finlayson Caribou Herd Oversight Committee with representation from Kaska First Nations to provide input into the next phases of the project. The Oversight Committee is proposed to be established by the end of 2022 to consider results of project-specific data collection, effects monitoring, mitigation and adaptive management as well as provide input and make recommendations on the range-wide management of the Finlayson Caribou Herd.
Canada is committed to building meaningful relationships and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. As such, additional time was necessary to advance meaningful consultation with potentially affected First Nations, particularly the Liard First Nation and Ross River Dena Council, regarding this project. Information, views and traditional knowledge from these communities were considered in the final decision on the project. Canada and the Yukon look forward to further engagement and consultation with all potentially affected First Nations as follow-on regulatory approvals related to the project are considered