WHITEHORSE—Minister of Energy Mines and Resources Scott Kent has issued the following statement on today’s announcement that Capstone Mining Corporation will suspend open pit mining operations at Minto Mine in the coming weeks, resulting in the layoff of some of the workforce employed at the site by contractor Pelly Construction.
The Yukon government is deeply disappointed at the loss of jobs that will result from the coming suspension. Over the last decade, activities at this mining and exploration property have been a strong contributor to the Yukon economy and we value its many benefits for all Yukoners, especially for the workers employed there and their families.
The Premier and I have been actively involved in this file in recent months and have worked diligently, along with departmental officials and the company, to find a path through the permitting issues in order to allow work to continue in a manner that meets regulatory requirements, safeguards the environment and protects jobs. Under the Quartz Mining Act, my department has responsibility for regulating and authorizing mining activities and the amended Quartz Mining License (QML) for Capstone’s Phase V/VI work will be ready for issue on Friday. Discussions are underway between the Yukon Water Board and Capstone regarding the timing and scope of the amended water licence. Our position is that because the proposed work is largely land-based, it can be managed under the company’s existing Water Licence and amended QML through strict terms and conditions.
Both the Quartz Mining Act (QMA) and the Waters Act (WA) authorize mining activities with the QMA focusing on terrestrial activities and the WA focusing on water use & deposit of waste. Licences under both acts have terms and conditions aimed at preventing adverse environmental effects. The Yukon Water Board is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal established under the WA.
Today’s announcement emphasizes the critical importance of our continuing work to harmonize mine licensing and permitting in Yukon. We have made progress but there is still important work to complete. Our government will continue our work with industry and the water board on the Mine Licence Improvement Initiative, aimed to better clarify roles and reduce uncertainty for companies.
Our government is committed to the future of the Minto Mine and we will continue to work closely with Capstone Mining towards the long-term plan of being fully operational in the coming months.