by Greg Klein | November 7, 2016 Press time results:
Press time results:
The territory’s riding names evoke mining history but repeated enticements to the sector failed to keep the Yukon Party in power. On November 7 the YP’s 14 years of majority rule came to an end as the Yukon Liberals moved from third to first place, returning to government for the first time since 2002. The red surge claimed YP leader Darrell Pasloski’s Mountainview constituency.
The first MLA declared elected was Klondike incumbent and Liberal leader Sandy Silver. NDP leader Liz Hanson also won re-election in Whitehorse Centre.
On mining-related issues, the month-long campaign saw the YP supporting regulatory streamlining, an exploration tax credit, funding for industry groups and support for road and power infrastructure. The party also called for “Yukon-specific curriculum for geology and earth sciences, and an experiential trades program.”
The YP castigated opposition support for the federal carbon tax, “the most significant commitment that the Liberals made with respect to the mining sector.” The incumbents said it would boost residents’ costs overall, hitting the average placer mine with more than $230,000 in additional expenses.
Liberals countered that the territory fell significantly in Fraser Institute rankings of mining jurisdictions. The most recent FI Investment Attractiveness Index places Yukon 12th of 109 jurisdictions worldwide, but last in Canada. The previous year Yukon ranked sixth worldwide. In 2012 to 2013, and 2011 to 2012, the territory scored #1 globally.
Additionally, the Liberals said the YP “botched” the S-6 amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act and created regulatory uncertainty while “legal battles with First Nation governments have resulted in huge tracts of land being off limits to mining.”
Silver argued his was the only party with “a plan to work with First Nation governments to rejuvenate the mining sector.”
A former teacher who’s worked on a placer mine, Silver joined the Yukon legislature in 2011 and became Liberal leader in 2014.
The territory hosts development, exploration, prospecting and placer mining activity, not to mention reality TV shows. But commodity prices have reduced major mines to just one operation, Capstone Mining’s (TSX:CS) Minto copper-gold-silver open pit in central Yukon.
Among the more celebrated development projects is Coffee, nabbed by Goldcorp TSX:G last May in its $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold. Goldcorp plans to revise the project’s feasibility study, conduct further community consultations and begin initial permitting studies. The company foresees initial gold production by the end of 2020.
Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT says its Eagle gold project at the Dublin Gulch property is “expected to be Yukon’s next operating gold mine.” The two-open pit proposal reached feasibility in September and has all major permits in place, the company says.
Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino project has been sent for review to the highest level of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board. The company intends to optimize the project design to address concerns including the height of the proposed tailings dam.
Yukon’s home to about 37,500 residents.