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As part of the Fish Habitat Management System, the Yukon Government and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have agreed on a coordinated approach to habitat inspections under the Fisheries Act, and other inspections under the Waters Act and the Placer Mining Act.  Under the agreement, Yukon Government officials are responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the new Regime.

Under the System, an "action level" approach will require miners to reduce sediment discharges before standards are exceeded.

Two levels will be set:

  1. The Action Level is the end-of-pipe sediment concentrations that must not be exceeded --on average-- for the life of the mining operation.  When sediment concentrations reach the "action level", the miner must take action to reduce sediment discharges.
  2. The Compliance Level is the maximum end-of-pipe sediment concentration that must never be exceeded.

The Action Level approach recognizes that:

  • In general, inspectors and placer miners have reliable and effective interactions that produce desired results.
  • Many settling facilities at Yukon placer mines are designed to perform even better than the current regulatory System requires. They discharge sediments in concentrations that are significantly lower than what is required.

Placer miners will be encouraged to build the best settling facility that can be established at their site, given its physical characteristics.

Mining equipment

What approach does the Yukon Government use to ensure placer miners are following the rules?

  1. Routine inspections are conducted by Natural Resource Officers/Mining (Inspectors) employed by Yukon Energy Mines and Resources.
  2. The inspectors work within a framework of Education, Encouragement and Enforcement.
  • Education – Inspectors always explain a new license to an operator, stress the obligations, encourage questions and ensure full understanding of the requirements.  Inspectors make providing information and clarification a priority.
  • Encouragement – Inspectors give timely reminders, acknowledge a job well-done, show understanding of the operator's aims and working conditions, involve operators in decisions affecting them and maintain an effective field presence.
  • Enforcement – Inspectors conduct inspections, monitor to verify compliance, give verbal or written warnings, issue warning tickets, direct remedial measures, investigate serious violations and recommend prosecution.