Yukon Zinc is expected in court next week to answer to charges relating to not making security payments for its Wolverine Mine, but Yukon's Opposition leader is questioning the timing of the charges.

"The question I think many citizens and I certainly have, and the NDP has, is why were we not acting on this sooner?" asks Liz Hanson.

Hanson points out the government has known the mine was in financial trouble for more than a year, and says if there's environmental liability left at the mine it will fall to Yukon taxpayers.

Yukon Zinc still owes the Yukon Government $2.8 million in security against estimated closure costs of $10.5 million, and the government says the real cost of cleaning up the mine is likely to go up.

Rob Thomas, with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, says the company was formally charged just last week, and that if found guilty, the maximum fine is $100,000.

Yukon Zinc is now under creditor protection.

It can no longer afford keep pumps at the mine going. The mine has been flooding for two months.