The Gold Report: The Yukon is ranked first in mineral potential and ninth overall in the recent ranking of global mining jurisdictions in the Fraser Institute’s 2015 Annual Survey of Mining Companies. Is that good enough? What are some of your mining-related goals for the Yukon?
Darrell Pasloski: You can’t get better than number one when it comes to mineral potential but the ninth overall ranking to me says that there’s still some work to be done. Our mineral endowment certainly is world class and the opportunities as a world-class jurisdiction for mining exploration and development will make us a future leader in the mining sector. There are more than 2,700 existing mineral occurrences in Yukon but these cover only about 12% of the land, so that leaves vast potential for current and future explorers.
The first goal would be more streamlined permitting. The federal government currently holds our environmental assessment legislation and is making amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. Those amendments will ensure that our assessment process is consistent with those in other jurisdictions, which should allow us to remain competitive. Here in Yukon, we’re working on the Mine Licensing Improvement Initiative. Improvement to this process will foster a more predictable and efficient regulatory environment.
The second goal would be improved infrastructure. There has been more than 100 years of mining in the territory and some good foundational infrastructure has supported the sector for decades. Yukon already has about 5,000 kilometers of government-maintained roads, an international airport, many community airports, and access to two ice-free deepwater ports that are probably a couple of days sailing closer to market than other ports along the northwest coast. Last year we made …read more