Sepro Mineral Systems says 'bickering' clouds Yukon opportunities

A company at a Yukon First Nations resource conference warn that infighting between First Nations and governments dilutes the appeal of Yukon’s resources.

'I see some very, very encouraging signs and I also see some extreme negativity,’ director says

Steve McAlister, director of Sepro Mineral Systems Corp., warns that infighting between First Nations and governments dilutes Yukon's appeal for investors. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The sixth annual Yukon First Nations Resource Conference brings together First Nations and mining companies to talk about successes and opportunities, but some delegates at the conference see clouds on the horizon.

"I see some very, very encouraging signs and I also see some extreme negativity with the bureaucracy in place and some of the regulation and some of the bickering,” says Steve McAlister, director of Sepro Mineral Systems Corp, a company that provides equipment to the mining industry. 

Sepro does business around the world including projects in Africa, South America and Russia and McAlister says Yukon First Nations and governments should realize they’re competing for investment on a global scale.

"Mining companies can go anywhere in the world, and they're going to go where the risk is least and the projects are most lucrative,” he says.

McAlister says ongoing court battles between First Nations and governments, such as the legal battle over land planning in the enormous Peel watershed — and threatened legal action over Bill S-6 — make the mining industry uneasy.

He says companies need certainty when they’re considering investing, and says he, personally, is feeling “ambivalent” about spending his company’s money here.   

His advice for all governments?

"Make sure you have your act together because the Yukon isn't the only game in town."

McAlister adds companies do not like surprises … such as court cases.


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