Yukon court orders territory to consult First Nation
Overturns decision to allow mining project on White River First Nation lands
The Yukon Supreme Court has overturned a Yukon government decision to allow a mining exploration project on the White River First Nation lands.
Last year, Yukon's environmental assessment board recommended that a Tarsis Resources project not be allowed to proceed because it would have negative effects.
The director of mineral resources with the Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources rejected that recommendation.
The White River First Nation then turned to the courts.
On Friday Justice Ron Veale ruled the Yukon government had made "fundamental mistakes" in its approach to consultation, by disregarding the board’s recommendation.
He ordered the director of mineral resources to meet with the First Nation for "deep consultation."
Veale said although White River has not signed its final land claim agreement, it still has a "strong claim" to its traditional territory.
"What it says is the government has no faith in its own regulatory body or in First Nations to comment," said Robert Freedman, lawyer for the White River First Nation.
The First Nation has concerns that the company’s drilling plans will disrupt the threatened Chisana caribou herd in the area. The herd has a population of about 700 animals.