Information for Miners
Engaging with Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in
TH encourages healthy and respectful working relationships with proponents undertaking mineral exploration or development projects in TH Traditional Territory. Early, effective engagement during mine or exploration planning is fundamental to a successful project. Proponents should review and understand the TH Mining Mandate, which sets out TH expectations of mining companies operating on our traditional territory. We also have other resources for mining proponents at all stages, from exploration to closure and reclamation:
Mining Engagement Flow Chart
Engaging with Yukon First Nations and Communities
Best Practices for Heritage Resources
Class 1 Notification on Settlement Land is the law
As of July 1, 2014, miners must notify Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources of all Class 1 activities on Settlement Land.
Mining on Settlement Land
If you own mining claims on settlement land, the Yukon’s mining acts do not tell the whole story. Your rights and responsibilities are also affected by the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Final Agreement (THFA) and TH laws. Miners should pay particularly close attention to Chapter 18 of the THFA, which outlines how your access and mining rights relate to our rights as the surface owners and regulators.
The THFA also applies different rules to claims staked before and after July 16, 1998, the effective date of the THFA. In general, on-claim activities are regulated under Yukon mining laws. However, the THFA carefully defines your access rights, and you should be familiar with the sections of Chapter 18 that apply to your situation.
Be aware that off-claim construction of new access, or improvement of existing access, will require our consent or an order from the Yukon Surface Rights Board. TH may require a compensation agreement as a condition of consent. The Surface Rights Board may likewise award compensation as part of any access dispute.
You may need our consent for mining activities on Category B settlement land
If your Category B claims were staked after July 16, 1998, you made need our consent for your activities. Under the THFA, these claims are considered “New Mineral Rights,” and the rules that apply to you are very different from the laws of settlement land.
Perhaps the most important rules are contained in Chapter 18.4.0. Miners need our consent or an order from the Yukon Surface Rights Board to use heavy equipment or mining methods more disruptive or damaging to the land than hand labour methods.
Firstly, some Class 1 activities trigger this consent requirement even if they do not trigger an assessment under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. To avoid violating the 18.4.0 consent rules, make sure that you comply with Yukon’s new Class 1 Notification rules, which apply to all settlement land. The Chief of Mining Land Use will forward your operating plan to TH for consultation, which will allow TH to identify Class 1 activities that require our consent.
Secondly, TH may require a compensation agreement as a condition of consent. The Surface Rights Board may likewise award compensation as part of any access dispute.
We strongly encourage holders of New Mineral Rights to consult directly with TH before carrying out any work on our Category B lands.
Claims staked before July 16, 1998
If you staked claims before this date, the THFA treats these “grandfathered” claims as “Existing Mineral Rights.” These claims may exist on Category A or B settlement land.
Under Yukon’s new Class 1 Notification rules, you must provide notice of all Class 1 activities.
Be aware that Yukon mining laws only cover on-claim activities. If you require new or improved off-claim access, such activities require our consent or an order from the Yukon Surface Rights Board. TH may require a compensation agreement as a condition of consent. The Surface Rights Board may likewise award compensation as part of any access dispute.
Residential use of settlement land by placer miners
Section 48(1)(c) of the Placer Mining Act, which dates from 1906, gives placer miners the right to construct and maintain a residence on their claims. This section is inconsistent with our surface ownership and jurisdiction on settlement land.
TH does not believe that staking a placer claim should entitle a person to build a residence on those claims. While we have no intention of disturbing settlement land miners who are actively working their claims, we will take action to address situations where a claimholder is performing minimal work while continuing to occupy the surface.
We strongly encourage settlement land miners who have or want an on-claim residence to seek a land use permit from the Land and Resources branch.
Timber harvest on settlement land by placer miners
Section 48(1)(b) of the Placer Mining Act, which dates from 1906, gives placer miners the right to “cut timber, not otherwise acquired, for their own use and for any purpose incidental and necessary to the operation of their claim.” This section is inconsistent with our ownership of timber on settlement land; Yukon Government has no authority to grant rights to timber it does not own or control.
TH understands that placer mining often involves clearing trees, and that some harvest of timber may be necessary to work the claim. We do not challenge the right to use timber for purposes incidental and necessary to that work. However, if a placer miner wants to cut timber “for their own use,” they should seek a land use permit from the Land and Resources branch. Miners should also salvage any unused timber and notify Land and Resources so that it can be collected and distributed to TH citizens.
Timber harvested on settlement land should not be sold under any circumstances.