Yukon miners need to work on public image: resource analyst

A resource analyst from B.C. has a strong message for the Yukon Chamber of Mines: start educating people on the benefits of mining. 'I think you guys should be talking about that,' said Stewart Muir.

'We need to reach people to get them to understand it is an important thing for the economy'

Attendees at the Chamber of Mines luncheon on Wednesday heard from the executive director of a Vancouver-based company that promotes public dialogue as key to the future of resource development. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

A resource analyst from B.C. has a strong message for the Yukon Chamber of Mines: start educating people on the benefits of mining.

Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works, a Vancouver-based company that promotes public dialogue as key to the future of resource development, believes mining development can be environmentally responsible.

But he says the the gap is widening between those who agree and those who don't.

Yukon mining industry stakeholders have said that highly divisive controversies including Bill S-6, which would amend Yukon's Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Act, and the Peel watershed legal battle, have impacted mining investment in the territory.   

Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works, spoke at Wednesday's Yukon Chamber of Mines luncheon. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)
At a luncheon yesterday, Muir said that when Yukoners were surveyed about the economic benefits of mining, too many said there are none.

"There's not very strong support for that, and I think you guys should be talking about that if you want to have a mining industry that creates these economic benefits."

Chamber Vice President Mike Burke got the message.

"I guess what he's saying is we just have to do a better job of speaking towards the reality of the business we work in."

Director Rob McIntyre agrees.

"We need to reach people to get them to understand it is an important thing for the economy in the territory."

Later this week, the chamber is hosting an interactive exploration camp in Whitehorse to showcase its responsible operators.

Today, it's urging members to fill the gallery in the Yukon Legislature when the government pays tribute to Mining Week.

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