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Buddy Crill

Goldcorp confident about first gold by end of 2020

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board says Goldcorp’s Coffee Gold Mine Project has not met consultation requirements with three First Nations.

By Emily Blake on July 14, 2017

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board says Goldcorp’s Coffee Gold Mine Project has not met consultation requirements with three First Nations.

YESAB’s executive committee made the decision Wednesday to discontinue its assessment of the Coffee Creek proposal until the mining company completes consultation obligations with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Selkirk First Nation, and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun.

The committee found that Goldcorp did not provide the First Nations with enough notice of changes in mine design, or reasonable time to prepare and present views on those changes.

“We’re a little bit surprised and disappointed, but we’re accepting their decision,” Goldcorp mine manager Buddy Crill told the Star this morning.

He said they are working with YESAB to determine the best path to keep the proposed open-pit mine project moving forward.

Wendy Randall, chair of executive committee, said there is no set deadline for how long the consultation will take.

But Crill said he does not expect there will be a significant delay in the project.

“At this point we don’t anticipate any surprises that might cause any changes in the schedule,” he said.

He noted that Goldcorp is on track for achieving first gold production by the end of 2020 as they have communicated to the markets. And while they could have started road construction by the middle of next year, they are more likely to meet an internal schedule timeline of early 2019.

Goldcorp re-evaluated and made changes to the Coffee Creek mine plan after it acquired Kaminak Gold for $520 million in 2016. This included changes to the waste rock storage facility, the use of the heap leach facility and a 214-km, all-weather access road with river barge crossings to provide access between the mine site and Dawson.

“The potential for change to mine design introduced an element of uncertainty into the nature of the possible effects of the project,” reads YESAB’s consultation determination.

Crill said the changes to the waste rock storage facility were based on input from First Nations through the consultation process, as there was concern with potential water quality impacts on Coffee Creek drainage.

In December 2016, Goldcorp notified the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in of the changes and said once it had settled on a storage facility it could provide more clarity and technical information. It provided the same documentation to the Selkirk First Nation in January 2017.

YESAB found that there was no substantive consultation with Na-Cho Nyak Dun before the project proposal was submitted.

Timelines on the proposed project were accelerated with a deadline of March 31, 2017 to submit the project proposal. And while Goldcorp continued to provide the First Nations with extensive information, YESAB says, the deadline did not give them enough time to digest and understand the information or provide a response.

In a May letter to YESAB, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph said Goldcorp had not fulfilled its consultation requirements under the assessment legislation or Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Aboriginal land claim settlements.

The Selkirk First Nation also expressed difficulty in meeting the “aggressive timelines” set out by Goldcorp.

Crill said that since March 31, the mining company has continued to consult with First Nations “on a pretty aggressive basis”, particularly the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in as the project will have the most significant impact on their traditional territory.

In a letter sent to YESAB following their decision, Chief Joseph noted, “We are confident that our concerns can be adequately addressed during the next phases of the environmental process.”

She said the First Nation has no objections to the proposal proceeding to the screening phase

But Randall said there is no authority under law for the executive committee to proceed with screening until consultation requirements are met.

Once consultation is completed, Goldcorp will submit a new proposal to the committee for screening. Randall said screening can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the size and complexity of the project.

Despite the recent setback, Crill said the company is hopeful about the project which will be positive for Goldcorp and the Yukon. And he added they are committed to maintaining good relationships with the First Nations.

“We’re very encouraged with what we’re hearing from the community and our First Nation partners,” he said.

“Goldcorp is committed to sustainable and responsible mining practices.”

Comments (8)

Up 6 Down 8

Jonathan Colby on Jul 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm

South America, yes: where the indiginous can be trampled upon or killed with relative impunity. And what savings!
Canadian mining companies are already dirtbags internationally, so don't be surprised if our FNs want everything they're guaranteed.

And hey, if you're so sore about FNs "getting everything for nothing," you should petition the Federal government to cede the land back to them wholesale. I mean, once upon a time, Canada attempted to get everything for nothing, and all it cost was millions of lives and a broken culture. But it was theirs, so who cares, eh?

Not that, uh, I imagine you give half a damn.

Up 7 Down 6

Ban the trolls on Jul 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

The comments on this story go from the measured, well thought out to the ridiculous.
It is always the same (jc, et all) that try their best to bring FNs down, it is not going to work, FNs have the highest courts in the land on their side, nine times out of ten. Most understand that now and most yukoners embrace it and understand the value of working with FNs. A few of the yesterdays folks will never get it.

Up 6 Down 2

Fred Green on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

@GeoGirl2008 YESAB did not move up the submission deadline they can't, only the proponent can. Goldcorp chose their own submission deadline bungling the requirement to consult under 50.(3) of the YESAA act. Check out the YESAB website.

Up 15 Down 8

GeoGirl2008 on Jul 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

@woodcutter, if you read the article, Goldcorp did not bungle the consultation process. The YESAB moved up the submission deadline, forcing Goldcorp into shortening the consultation period. Had the submission deadline not been moved up it sounds like this would be a non-issue.

Up 22 Down 6

jc on Jul 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I've said this before, don't count on it. When you're dealing with FN your dealing with trouble. These people will never be satisfied unless they receive a large part of the profits, for doing nothing of course. So, if you want to get this project on the road, prepare to give big time. Personally, I think the gold mining companies in the Yukon should just close up and move to South America. Less expensive, less trouble and more profits. I know, I talked to one miner already.

Up 9 Down 19

woodcutter on Jul 17, 2017 at 3:53 pm

@just saying.
Can't you keep on track? the article is gold corps bungling of the process and you attach every issue with the universe to it.
The kaska issue is just an opening bargaining position, it's not anywhere a done deal. The issue of the inquiry is also in its early stages and it will get some bumps on the way.

The issue is Goldcorps, in the article, misplay of the consultation process, which so many mining companies mess up. Because they're mining companies and they're not use to the evolving world of consultation and the courts progressively ruling in favor of treaties that were entered into.

Time to get with the 21st century

Up 31 Down 5

Just Say'in on Jul 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

@Tim Hall

It is absolutely impossible to satisfy or appease the First Nations anywhere in Canada. They will never be happy with anything. The Lawyers won't let them.

Take a look at what has been going on with the Missing and Murdered inquiry, they are not interested in getting the answers. It is all about the process and dragging it out as far as possible. It will never end until we say OK it is over. Enough is Enough.

They are acting like spoiled kids. Apologies from four Prime Ministers and counting c/w a steady flow of money from the Feds. Now the Kaska and a 1.5 Billion proposed settlement for SE Yukon. Do the math on that per person. Normal calculator can not even go that high.

With Canada's Law being set on precedence how will this play out all across Canada?

Up 1 Down 10

jim on Jul 17, 2017 at 12:14 am

Really no comments?
Because Goldcorp is so big even FN backtracks ?

What a shame!

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