The Eagle Gold Mine has been assessed under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) and currently holds a Quartz Mining License (QML) and a Water Use License (WUL) to construct, operate and close the Project.
As discussed in Section 1.5, the project area has an extensive exploration history involving a number of prior operators, some of whom had undertaken the collection of baseline environmental, socio-economic, land use, and heritage data. In 2007, StrataGold re-initiated the collection of environmental baseline data, which includes the disciplines of climate, water quality, hydrology, hydrogeology, aquatic biota, wildlife, air quality and vegetation.
Fieldwork to characterize climatic, hydrological, hydrogeological, air, vegetation and water quality conditions is ongoing.
Victoria Gold and prior operators have also characterized local and regional land use and socio-economic conditions, First Nations land use and activities, and archaeological and heritage resources.
Prior to construction or operational activities taking place, mining projects in the Yukon are required to undergo an assessment of potential project effects pursuant to the YESAA. The YESAA process mandates that an applicant describe the scope of the project, the existing environmental and socio-economic setting, potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the project, and the measures that will be instituted by the applicant to mitigate those effects. The applicant also has a statutory obligation to consult any First Nation or resident of any community residing in the territory in which the project will be located or might have significant environmental or socio-economic effects on.
This duty to consult the parties must be completed to the satisfaction of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB), based upon their consideration of any submitted material and discussions with the parties, before the formal review of a project may commence.
The YESAA review process results in a recommendation by the YESAB to federal, territorial or First Nation governments or agencies that will regulate or permit the proposed activity for measures to reduce, control or eliminate project effects. These governments or agencies, referred to as Decision Bodies, will then decide whether to accept, reject, or vary the YESAB’s recommendation in a final Decision Document. Upon receipt of positive final Decision Documents by the Decision Bodies, a project may then proceed to the licensing phase.
Mining projects in the Yukon require permits and approvals issued pursuant to various federal and territorial legislation. The major regulatory approvals that must be received for a mining project during the licensing phase are generally a QML, under Section 135 of the Yukon’s Quartz Mining Act, and a WUL, under Sections 6 (1) and 7 (1) of the Waters Act (Yukon).
The Eagle Gold Project has successfully completed the YESAA environmental assessment resulting in a positive final Decision Document in 2013. Victoria Gold subsequently applied for and received a QML and a Type A WUL for the construction, operation and closure of the Project.
Pursuant to the QML and WUL, Victoria Gold was able to begin the construction of the above facilities and undertake the associated activities immediately upon posting a bond, providing issued for construction drawings, and satisfying other minor requirements.
Project components not currently included in the QML or WUL include the Olive pit, expansion of one of the WRSAs into an adjacent watershed, the secondary HLP and the related project infrastructure required for developing these facilities. The project components not currently included in the QML or WUL will need to undergo a review pursuant to the YESAA and require the subsequent amendment to each license. Victoria Gold has estimated permitting of these additional elements can be completed within three years.
Further information on the extension of the Project and permitting process can be found here.