Canadian Leaders Reverse Protection Of Yukon Territory And Open Up Pristine Areas For Mining and Mineral Exploration

hartRiver_juriIn a devastating reversal for environmentalists, Canada’s Yukon Territory announced last week that it has decided to reverse an earlier promise to protect undeveloped Yukon territory. The reversal came after mining interests reportedly financed the Yukon Party, which came into power in the last election. The earlier plan with indigenous and environmental leaders would have protected 80 percent of the area known as the Peel watershed region which features some of Canada’s highest peaks and greatest glaciers as well as breathtaking tundra and forests.

The area is Larger than California but with only 37,000 inhabitants. It is considered one of the most important areas for preservation in the world. However, Canadian mining companies want to search for gold, zinc, copper, iron, and uranium. We previously saw how Canadian companies were involved in an equally alarming contract to wipe out mountain tops in pristine areas of Romania.

dixonFirst Nations leaders wanted the entire 26,000-square-mile Peel region to be protected. However, they reached the earlier agreement for 80 percent to be protected and 20 percent to be mined. That was not enough for mining companies. Currie Dixon (right), a Yukon Party member in the Yukon Legislative Assembly who serves as Minister of Environment and Minister of Economic Development, simply said that the new majority wasn’t “comfortable with the plan” to preserve the area “and since we won a majority government, we felt a mandate to proceed in a manner that was the correct one.” Under the new “more comfortable” plan only 29 percent of the region is “protected” but that protection will not stop companies from building roads for development across the land.

It is quite a legacy for people like Dixon and the Yukon Party who can now watch one of the world’s most beautiful areas crisscrossed by exploration and development.

Source: National Geographic

9 thoughts on “Canadian Leaders Reverse Protection Of Yukon Territory And Open Up Pristine Areas For Mining and Mineral Exploration”

  1. A big question is what they want to do: drilling, brush & tree cutting, fracking or open pit mines. The latter would be a tragedy up there. Also, going from 80% to 29% spared is a huge difference. One thing I noticed about the Yukon when working up there in 1972 was a) The country is beautiful but looks unfinished, mainly because the melting, melted & rained on season is barely 3 months, so a little damage goes a long way; b) The short gold rushes late 19th century has had a lasting impact on the lack of timber & primary growth which never returned as it was.

  2. I don’t know enough to opine on the safety of these mining operations. However, having been to the Yukon, it would be a travesty to screw up that pristine land. It is some of the most starkly and uniquely beautiful land I have seen; much different, but on par w/ southern Utah.

  3. This is typical of Canada. Americans have laurels they rest upon that blind them to the reality that the once benchmark for world democracy is now an oligarchy. Canada has a silver spoon, natural resources. The proportion of population to easily found natural resources reminds one of a kid in a candy shop. There is little understanding of the true benefits that could be had. Private enterprise in British Columbia has clear cut forests and shipped the logs to Japan for milling. The option for easy money takes jobs away from BC sawmill workers. The province and the country suffers while a single entrepreneur makes buckets of easy money. This is no different. Once a corporation has the government in its pocket the mining will go forward with little to no regard for pollution and environmental destruction.

    It is the way of the world and Canadian mining companies have one of the worst reputations in this world. While Canada and Canadians have much to boast about, the way their country is treated by oligarchically run governments is well behind the norm. It seems that mankind only learns when its back is up against the wall. Canada has so much natural resource, in the second largest country in the world, with a small and complacent population. The true north strong and free could take this moment to set a new benchmark, being good stewards of the land even when it doesn’t seem necessary.

    As a Canadian ex pat with dual nationality, I sometimes miss being able to refer to my other country as an example to Americans of how it should be done.

  4. They won’t rest until every mountain has been de-capped and every square inch of wilderness is under their ‘development’ – no amount of profits is ever enough to satisfy their greed – I’m sure the top 1% only ever compare themselves to each other, so if they are not top dog, that means they still have to fight to get to top of the pile !! The planet does not matter one little bit – and the hilarious thing about it is that they will die by the time they are 100 or so just like everyone else !!!

  5. In a devastating reversal for environmentalists …” – JT

    And anyone else who breathes air, drinks water, and needs a stable climate.

  6. The Vancouver observer has been running excellent articles on this…. Most are opposed…. But the pipeline that will come from the tarsands…. Will cause more environmental harm in the long run….

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