Yukon prospectors are condemning a Supreme Court of Canada decision affecting rules for mineral staking in the Yukon.
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the territory’s request to appeal a lower court decision that ordered government to change the way mining claims are registered on unsettled lands in Ross River Dena territory.
That means new rules will have to be worked out through negotiations with the Ross River Dena Council.
Mike Power, president of the Yukon Prospectors Association, says the ruling threatens the livelihood of its members.
"Anything that detracts from the Yukon's otherwise good reputation as a place to invest in mineral exploration will make it tougher for us at the bottom of the food chain to defend the properties we're exploring," he said.
The ruling is expected to have implications for mineral exploration across Canada.
Robert Falcon Ouellette, director of First Nation Studies at the University of Manitoba, says threats of doom from the industry are no more than negotiating positions.
"A lot of First Nations as well want to have resource extraction in order to have employment,” he said. “Companies can say ‘We're not going to do it if you play too hard ball with us; what can you give us to make it worth our while?’"
The government says it will comply with the lower court decision forcing the Yukon to consult with the Ross River Dena before mineral claims can be registered in their traditional territory.