Yukon gov't's decision on Dawson City mining claims 'expropriation', agent claims

Darrell Carey's former agent says a Yukon government decision regarding the miner's claims in Dawson City is 'nothing short of expropriation.'

Darrell Carey's placer claims in Dawson City overlap town's cross-country ski trail network

Darrell Carey's placer mining claims overlook the Klondike River valley in Dawson City. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

Darrell Carey's former agent says a Yukon government decision regarding the miner's claims in Dawson City is "nothing short of expropriation."

Carey had applied to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB) to operate a placer mine over 34 claims on the east bench of the Dome. The claims overlap the town's cross-country ski trail network, which, according to Carey's former agent Randy Clarkson, were actually developed on old mining exploration trails.

In its decision document issued Wednesday, the last step in the process, the government approved YESAB's recommendation of 21 strict conditions on Carey's mining operation, but eased the restrictions in five of them.

They reduced the buffer zone required around the ski trails from 50 metres to 30 metres, and exempted a specific lot from a required 150-metre buffer zone around all surveyed land.

Other government changes include allowing Carey to transport sluicing material on the Dome Road and Mary McLeod Road.

He will be encouraged to report any invasive plants, but is not required to do so.

He will also have to work in a way that protects any migratory birds or their eggs, but won't be restricted from clearing land during bird-nesting periods.

The government also removed the recommendation that the Yukon Government be required to monitor any potential effects of the mining operation on the local ski trails.    

But Clarkson says the changes are insignificant, and the conditions leave most of the potentially profitable areas of the claims untouchable. He says Carey has lost a $750,000 investment.

"The man has existing rights, and he paid a lot for them. He has a dream to mine. We just crushed it with a bureaucracy," said Clarkson.

According to Clarkson, Carey will retain his title to the claims and wait for the government to "do the right thing" and compensate him.    

In the meantime, he says Carey's only option is to accept the terms and mine a small portion of the claims.