The Government of Yukon released guidelines to help the industry improve water management at quartz mining projects. These guidelines are iterative, the Government of Yukon intends to review the guidelines after a period of three years.
In order to get a water licence, quartz mining proponents must submit an adaptive management plan outlining how they will manage water at their site. Until now, there has not been Yukon-specific guidance on what should be included in an adaptive management plan. These guidelines will fill that gap and make these plans more consistent, clear and efficient across Yukon.
This standardized approach will help protect Yukon's freshwater, promote sustainable water use by industry, and help the industry prepare for unforeseen environmental conditions, such as the impacts of climate change.
It is important to all Yukoners to have healthy freshwater. We know industry can impact our water, and the development of these guidelines is very helpful to the environmental management of the quartz mining industry in Yukon. This guide shows us how governments and industry can work together to manage our natural resources responsibly.
Minister of Environment Pauline Frost
These guidelines will help to ensure that mineral production occurs in an environmentally responsible manner. The mineral sector is a major driver of Yukon's economy so we strive to ensure mining projects advance in a timely manner through a regulatory process that values high environmental standards and vigilant consideration of Yukon First Nations' and Yukoners' interests.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai
The Yukon Water Board is a key player in water management in the territory. The board has endorsed the adaptive management plan guidelines and was actively involved in developing and reviewing the guidelines.
The guidelines do not change how the Yukon Water Board operates, but they will help reviewers, mining proponents, First Nation governments, and stakeholders better understand what should be in an adaptive management plan.
The guidelines will support development, review and engagement related to the development of adaptive management plans during the water licensing process.
Development of these guidelines started in 2017 as a goal of the Yukon Water Strategy and Action Plan.