The Canadian federal and Yukon governments have concluded the environmental and socio-economic assessment process for the Kudz Ze Kayah project, paving the way for the project to proceed to the regulatory phase.
The Kudz Ze Kayah project, proposed by metals and mining company BMC Minerals, is an openpit and underground silver, copper, gold, lead and zinc mine development located about 115 km southeast of Ross river.
Work will next advance to the permitting phase for the project, which is expected to have a construction period of about two years followed by an estimated ten-year mine life.
The project is anticipated to inject up to $720-million in capital expenditure into the Canadian and Yukon economies over its life, providing up to 500 construction-related jobs and 400 operational jobs for Kaska First Nations, Yukoners and Canadians.
The project will pay direct taxes and royalties to the federal and Yukon governments in the order of $620-million.
A decision document has been issued that varies the project terms and conditions recommended by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, following a screening under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.
The joint decision was made following Indigenous consultations and full consideration of the potential impacts of the project on the Finlayson caribou herd, as well as through the development of varied terms and conditions and additional caribou data analysis.
One of the additional conditions in the decision document includes the establishment of a Finlayson Caribou Herd Oversight Committee with representation from Kaska First Nations to provide input into the next phases of the project.
The Oversight Committee is proposed to be established by the end of the year to consider results of project-specific data collection, effects monitoring, mitigation and adaptive management as well as provide input and make recommendations on the range-wide management of the Finlayson Caribou Herd.
The governments say they are committed to building meaningful relationships and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. As such, additional time was necessary to advance meaningful consultation with potentially affected First Nations, particularly the Liard First Nation and Ross River Dena Council, regarding this project. Information, views and traditional knowledge from these communities were considered in the final decision on the project.