Yukon hosts placer mining study mission fellows from five countries in Africa and Latin America

Joint news release by the Government of Yukon and the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute

Fifteen fellows from five countries are touring Yukon to learn about the territory’s placer mining industry. 

The Fellowship Study Mission participants are from Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Peru and Ecuador and represent government mining and environment ministries or small-scale mining associations and cooperatives in their countries. The mission is organized by the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute.

In Yukon from September 3 to 12, the participants are learning about the territory’s mining industry with a particular focus on placer mining practices and policies. On September 5, they heard from Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston, Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board executive director Tim Smith and the Government of Yukon’s Mineral Resources director Robert Holmes and Yukon Geological Survey head Jeff Bond.

During their time in the territory, the visitors will also meet with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Elders and mining industry representatives, and will take part in a field trip to a placer mining camp near Dawson City.

I very much enjoyed meeting our visitors and sharing information about the important part the placer mining industry plays in Yukon’s economy, culture and heritage. There is much that countries can learn from each other about the resource industry by sharing and exchanging information and experiences. I was also keen to talk about our government-to-government relationship with First Nations here in Yukon and the importance of partnership when it comes to responsible resource development.

Premier Sandy Silver

Artisanal and small-scale mining, known as ASM, is the primary livelihood for an estimated 25 million individuals, across 80 countries around the world. ASM provides direct and indirect employment to many of the world’s poorest communities, however most miners operate outside of government regulatory oversight, without basic social or environmental safeguards. This often results in adverse impacts and challenges including income inequality, human rights abuses, health risks and environmental degradation. It is the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute’s belief that an effectively regulated small-scale mining sector could mitigate the negative consequences of the sector and serve as a driver for poverty alleviation. Yukon, Canada, is one of the few places globally that has a fully regulated small-scale mining sector. By bringing government and mining association representatives from Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana and Peru to Yukon, it is the institute’s intention that they will learn from Yukon’s experience, and also from each other, and that this will support them in formulating effective policies and regulations to address their countries’ needs and context.

Canadian International Resources and Development Institute Chief Executive Officer Elaine Pura

Quick facts 
  • In 2017, a reported 72,463 ounces of placer gold were exported from Yukon with an approximate value of $94 million.

  • As well as engaging with the Government of Yukon, Yukon First Nations, industry organizations and placer miners in Yukon, peer-to-peer learning is a key part of the mission. Each fellow or group of fellows from the same country will develop a back-to-work plan to ensure the knowledge and experience they gain is transferred to the government and the small-scale mining industry in their home country.

  • The fellows are also spending two days in Vancouver to learn about artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) policy and climate change, looking broadly at how environmental management can impact this broader issue. 

  • The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) was founded by three leading universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Polytechnique Montréal. The institute is funded through a contribution agreement with Global Affairs Canada (formerly Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) and through other project–specific funding.

  • CIRDI is an independent centre of expertise in natural resource-led development. The institute works at the request of developing country governments that seek to strengthen their capacity to govern and manage their natural resources for the benefit of their people. CIRDI believes that all countries can benefit from transparent, accountable institutions that represent and serve the people, that diversity is a strength and that economies do better when everyone has a chance to succeed.

Media contact 

Janine Workman
Cabinet Communications

Olena Soldatova
Communications and Learning Assistant
Canadian International Resources and Development Institute

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