On behalf of the Yukon Chamber of Mines staff and the Board of Directors, I am pleased to welcome back colleagues from across industry to a safe in-person gathering in the Yukon, as well as to our colleagues connecting globally through the virtual platform. We are here celebrating Yukon’s modern and responsible resource industry at the 49th Annual Yukon Geoscience Forum and Trade Show, and to mark the 125th Anniversary of Klondike Gold Discovery in Yukon.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our strong commitment to the health, wellness and safety of our delegates, sponsors, partners, exhibitors, staff, volunteers and community, we continue to adapt and innovate to create a safe program with activities to support our dynamic membership, and advance the interests of all those involved and invested in Yukon’s mining industry.
Geoscience favorites will return to in-person, with live streaming via the Yukon Geoscience web app. As we continue to navigate uncertain times, create safe gatherings, and accommodate venue availability and capacity limitations, Yukon Geoscience has adapted its program, hosting the forum and trade show across three venues – the Best Western Gold Rush Inn, Yukon Transportation Museum, and Yukon Beringia Interpretative Centre, with the Awards Banquet returning to the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. Partners, sponsors, delegates and exhibitors will have access to interactive sessions, including the trade show, core-poster shack, and networking opportunities, both during the event and in the months to come.
Kicking off Yukon Geoscience 2021, we are excited to host a celebration welcome reception in recognition of the 125th Anniversary of Klondike Gold Discovery in Yukon, and the critical role that Yukon’s placer industry has played in our history, culture, and economy – and continues too today. Hosted at the Yukon Transportation Museum, we will have the opportunity to not only welcome back friends and colleagues to Yukon, but to step back in time – and maybe even costume – to connect with our Gold Rush roots and the critical role Indigenous peoples played in discovering and advancing Yukon’s mineral potential.
While we celebrate Yukon’s critical role in keeping a strong and prosperous Yukon moving forward, we have to use this venue and opportunity as we gather to recognize and find ways to address issues affecting our industry as we all move into the future. The upcoming 12 to 18 months will define how Yukon’s Mineral Development Industry is going to carry on for decades to come. Implementation of Yukon’s Mineral Development Strategy (MDS), once the Yukon Government decides how they will move forward with the recommendations, will be the determining factor for our industry. Development of successor Legislation to the Quartz and Placer Acts was a key recommendation from the MDS and this work is already under way, with the potential to transform how our industry operates in Yukon. Land Use Planning is coming for more Yukon jurisdictions with the Draft Dawson Regional Land Use Plan being released June 15, 2021. Development of Successor Legislation and completion of Land Use Planning is long overdue, and it is critical that industry be deeply involved and engaged in the process from day 1. Neither process can be successful without direct and sustained input from industry.
The Yukon is a great place to do business, with world-class geologic potential and an incredibly responsible industry, but the road blocks we increasingly see preventing projects from moving forward must be addressed. Yukon’s Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB) recommendations must stay within the defined boundaries of the Act. We all need certainty however, we are continually challenged by recommendations that do not align with the intended mandate of YESAB and seemingly open-ended timelines that extend well outside the rules and regulations. We need to collectively use this venue of Geoscience to have open and respectful conversations about how we can address these challenges and ensure that the Yukon has a healthy and robust mining industry into the future.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, I want to thank all of our partners, sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and organizers and of course thank you to all delegates for allowing us to make this event a success. Through your support, the Yukon Chamber of Mines will continue to strengthen its voice as a representative of Yukon’s modern, diverse, safe, technologically advanced, and responsible mining industry.
Thank you and I hope you find this year’s Geoscience most beneficial leaving you counting down the days to Yukon Geoscience 2022 and our 50th Anniversary event!
See you at Geoscience.
Ed Peart, President