Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski: Our Goal Is To Be The Number One Mining Location

One of the realities, though, is that because we've been modern treaty trailblazers we are also among the first to encounter the challenges of such uncharted territory. Our relationship with First Nations people is strong, but it's not always easy. Meanwhile, mining companies operating here have been progressive in developing First Nations relationships on their exploration and development projects. Each company has some type of cooperation agreement in place with affected First Nations. First Nation communities and businesses both benefit from these agreements and the opportunities that come from them.

We also work with the Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce and Yukon First Nation Development Corporations. For example, we signed an agreement not long ago with Kluane First Nation to collect some geophysical data via airborne survey on a portion of the Kluane Ranges, part of its traditional territory. That area hosts Wellgreen Platinum Ltd.'s (WG:TSX; WGPLF:OTCPK) Wellgreen project. The results from such a survey will help the Kluane First Nation identify possible economic opportunities on its settlement land and assist with resource management. There's a lot of work being done on the ground to assist First Nations.

TGR: Please give us three reasons why mining companies should spend their limited exploration budgets in your territory versus perhaps Alaska or British Columbia?

DP: First, you mentioned earlier that the Fraser Institute identified Yukon as having the world's greatest geological potential. There is a remarkable endowment of significant gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, nickel, iron, molybdenum, tungsten, and platinum group metals (PGMs) deposits. More than 2,700 mineral occurrences have been identified in roughly 12% of the landmass—Yukon is significantly underexplored. We have a long history of discoveries that continues to multiply with each exploration boom. As a result of the recent two-year exploration boom that started in 2010, more than 7.3 million ounces (7.3 Moz) gold in new discoveries were added to the previously existing deposits that totaled 23 Moz gold, 50 Moz silver and 10 Moz PGMs. That's significant.

Second, Yukon has an experienced and supportive service-supply sector. The knowledge is here whether it's assay labs, airborne electromagnetic surveys, helicopters or drillers. The businesses that are required to support the mining industry are well established in Yukon and are here to make life easier for exploration companies.

Third, this is a very mining friendly jurisdiction. Our government recognizes that the mining industry is a cornerstone of our economy. We realize that the benefits accrue directly to Yukoners and Yukon businesses, as well as to mining companies and their investors. Our government will continue to work on its mineral development strategy. Our goal is to rank first in all of the categories in the Fraser Institute survey.

TGR: Some mining pundits believe that recent environmental legislation put in place by Canada's federal government makes it unusually difficult to permit a mine or develop new deposits on an already permitted property. What's your view?

DP: More than a decade ago the federal government transferred management of the territory's land, water and resources to the territorial government. Along with that was the creation of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act here in the territory. We have our own made–in–Yukon approach to environmental assessments. Those assessments also have to factor in the social and economic benefits of each project. In the past eight years, seven mining permits have been issued within 18–30 months, which is either comparable or better than most First World jurisdictions. Investors also benefit from being in one of the most geopolitically safe mining jurisdictions in the world, with security of tenure that is second to none. Once a permit is granted, a company and its investors can move forward with little risk that the permit will be revoked. We in Yukon have grown our mineral sector over the past decade and we want to stay at the forefront of investment attraction.

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Disclosure: 

1) Brian Sylvester conducted this interview for Streetwise Reports LLC, publisher of  more

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