WHITEHORSE - In July 2018, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources shocked Yukon placer miners by giving an extremely short time frame for nominees to the Dawson Planning Commission.
At the time, Minister Pillai told local media: "We think that 21 days, coming out and saying that we need people to apply, was appropriate."
This was characterized as an ‘insult’ by the Klondike Placer Miners Association as this fell in the middle of their busy mining season and they felt that as one of the largest land users in the region, consideration should have been given to them on that basis. They went on to say that the KPMA had been intimately engaged in decisions that affect their livelihoods under previous administrations of every political stripe, but that positive working relationship had been absent since the Yukon Liberal Government was elected in 2016.
Now, almost six months later, the Commission still hasn’t been formally announced.
“Why would the Minister describe this as an urgent situation in the summer and subsequently do nothing,” said Scott Kent, YP mining critic. “Given that he has dragged his feet for half a year now, he could have very easily accommodated the KPMA concerns last summer.”
At the time, Pillai said that while he respects the placer mining industry he's not willing to put on the brakes just for KPMA.
“This Minister is quickly developing a reputation for being all talk and no action” added Kent. “Too many of his files are left unattended as he seems to believe the work is done when the first press release goes out.”
Hopefully the Minister can repair his relationship with the placer miners as they are a key driver of our economy and deserve to be treated with respect.