The Yukon government is proposing to amend the Yukon Quartz
Mining Act (QMA) and the Yukon Placer
Mining Act to change the approval process for Class 1
exploration activities. Currently, Class 1 activities, which
include the clearing of trees, trenching, removal of bulk samples,
and use of explosives, may be undertaken without an opportunity for
the Crown to consult with First Nations.
The proposed amendments will introduce new provisions aimed at
providing an opportunity for the Crown to consult with First
Nations prior to Class 1 exploration activities being undertaken.
This will have obvious timing and permitting implications for those
staking claims and planning to undertake exploration work.
Details of the proposed amendments are available on the Yukon
Government's website. The Yukon Government is accepting
comments and submissions from the public on the proposed amendments
until July 31, 2013.
The amendments are in response to a recent decision by the Yukon
Court of Appeal in Ross River Dena Council v. Government of
Yukon, 2012 YKCA 14. In this case, the Ross River Dena Council
contended in part that once a claim is recorded, the mineral right
holder may carry out any Class 1 exploration activities without
having to provide prior notice to anyone of the same, and in the
absence of any approval. As a result, Class 1 activities could take
place without any opportunity for the Crown to consult with the
Ross River Dena Council.
The Court of Appeal considered this system and agreed that the
Crown did owe a duty to consult, with, the Ross River Dena Council
in respect of Class 1 activities. The Court also found that the
existing regulatory regime did not provide an opportunity for
consultation with First Nations prior to Class 1 activities being
undertaken. The Court of Appeal stated that the Yukon Government
could cure the deficiencies in the existing regulatory regime
(including the QMA) to provide an opportunity for Crown
consultation. The court provided a one-year period for the Yukon
Government to cure the identified deficiencies, that is, until
December 27, 2013. For further discussion of this decision, see our
Leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada is
being sought by the Government of the Yukon and a decision on leave
For the time being, the proposed amendments will address four
Environmental protection and compliance monitoring for Class 1
Consultation with Yukon First Nations;
Security for Class 1 exploration; and
Identification of areas for specific operating conditions.
The proposed amendments
require written notification to be provided to the Chief of
Mining Land Use prior to the commencement of a Class 1
expand the powers of the Chief of Mining Land Use for Class 1
the power to refuse to allow a Class 1 program if environmental
or socioeconomic effects cannot be mitigated or adverse effects on
treaty rights or asserted aboriginal rights cannot be accommodated;
the power to require the person carrying out the Class 1
activity to provide security where there is a risk of significant
adverse environmental effects;
establish a 25-day review period for Class 1 exploration
activities and the ability to extend the review period if needed;
authorize the Minister to define certain "identified
areas" where specific operating conditions will apply (such as
limiting activities to certain times of year to avoid critical
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The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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