PM hails new resource revenue-sharing deal
The federal and Yukon governments signed a new resource revenue-sharing agreement Tuesday, on the second day of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual northern tour.
Photo by AinslIe Cruickshank
TOURING THE MINE SITE – The Minto Mine hosted political figures and members of the Yukon and national media Tuesday. From left: Yukon MP Ryan Leef, Premier Darrell Pasloski, John Duncan, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (rear), Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Brad Cathers, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and Chief Kevin McGinty of the Selkirk First Nation. A new resource revenue-sharing agreement was signed between the Yukon and federal governments Tuesday (top). COPPER MINING – Minto’s second open mining pit is seen here Tuesday. A Canadian flag strung up on a truck in the pit welcomed federal and Yukon government officials to the mine.
MINTO MINE SITE – The federal and Yukon governments signed a new resource revenue-sharing agreement Tuesday, on the second day of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual northern tour.
The new agreement was signed by John Duncan, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and Premier Darrell Pasloski during a press conference held at the Minto Mine just outside of Carmacks.
The new agreement raises the Yukon’s revenue cap from $3 million for minerals, forestry, water and land revenue and $3 million for oil and gas revenue to $6 million for all natural resource revenue.
As revenue from oil and gas is low compared to revenue from mineral mining, this new arrangement means revenue from mineral extraction exceeding the former $3-million cap will remain in the territory.
Under the new agreement, there is no distinction between the resources.
The 2011-2012 forecast revenue from oil and gas resources was $100,000, while the forecast revenue from quartz mining fees and leases was $3,145,000 and $255,000 for placer mining fees.
Those numbers are based on figures from February and March. The final numbers are expected to be available in the fall.
The new agreement comes with an option to adjust the revenue-sharing formula to a 50-50 split between the governments in the future.
Until the Yukon’s resource revenues exceed $12 million annually, the territory benefits more from the $6-million cap than the 50 per cent option, a backgrounder explains.
The territory’s resource revenues are currently less than $6 million.
This new revenue-sharing arrangement was agreed to in principle during Harper’s northern tour last summer.
Before addressing a crowd of media, government representatives and mine employees, Harper, his wife, Laureen, and Yukon MP Ryan Leef were taken on a tour of the milling operation at the mine.
“Under this agreement, Yukoners will benefit to a much greater extent from the expected boom in mineral exploration and development during the decades to come,” Harper said during his speech.
“In the next 10 years, more than 500 large, new development projects will be proposed for Canada.
“Together, these new investments will be worth more than half a trillion dollars. This means jobs and growth, jobs and growth that Canada needs as we continue to navigate through a troubled global economy.
“Much of that growth will be here in the North; indeed, such is the magnitude of the North’s resource wealth that we are only, quite literally, just scratching the surface,” he said.
Taking his turn at the podium set up in front of Minto’s second open-pit mine, Pasloski said, “The Minto mine provides an example for future developments here in the territory.
“So it is very exciting to have this mine site be the location for the signing today of a very significant new agreement with Canada.”
Pasloski noted the new arrangement means more revenue from Yukon resources will remain in the territory.
“Yukoners will begin to see the benefits from our strong resource economy, both immediately and in the long-term.
“The new arrangements will help us continue to invest in healthy communities and manage our growing infrastructure and energy needs,” he said.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Opposition Leader Liz Hanson said the Yukon’s resource revenue system needs to brought into the “21st century.
“A bigger share of nothing is still nothing,” the New Democrat said.
“The premier will celebrate this agreement with Ottawa, yet until the Yukon government changes the way royalties are collected from mining companies, there’s not much to celebrate.
“As the owners of our territory’s natural resources, Yukoners deserve to see a return whenever those resources are extracted.”
She notes in the release that the Yukon government estimates a total resource revenue of $3.3 million for 2012-2013, while revenue from the Yukon Liquor Corp. is estimated to be in the vicinity of $13.7 million.
“An increased revenue cap doesn’t address the issue of our non-renewable resources being taken out of the ground and corporations reaping the rewards before Yukoners get their fair share. It’s time to put Yukoners at the front of the line while still keeping our industry competitive.”
In a press release Tuesday, the Yukon government said, “As resource development increases in Yukon, this improved net fiscal benefit will increase Yukon’s source revenue and the revenue it could share with First Nations.”
Pasloski was not available for an interview today to discuss the possibility of renegotiating resource revenue sharing arrangements between YTG and First Nations. He is touring the communities.
The Minto Mine is located on Category “A” settlement land owned and managed by the Selkirk First Nation.
The First Nation owns both the surface and subsurface rights to the land and receives royalties from the mining operation.
Minto began operations in 2007, the first hard rock mine to be developed since the 1990s and the first developed on First Nation settlement land.
Selkirk Chief Kevin McGinty provided a brief history of his First Nation before speaking directly about its “mutually beneficial” partnership with Capstone.
“We work to accommodate each other’s interest, while still protecting the land and its environment.
“This does not occur without ongoing efforts by both parties, operating from a foundation built on integrity, trust, co-operation and transparency.”
Darren Pylot, the founder and CEO of Capstone, said Selkirk support has been essential to the success of Minto.
“We strive to work hard on our relationship, see real benefits flow to the community and be good stewards of these lands which will be turned back to the Selkirk.”
McGinty noted the new water treatment plant in Pelly Crossing was largely feasible due to a large contribution by Capstone.
Pylot noted that of the 306 employees at Minto, 26 per cent are First Nation and 51 per cent are Yukoners.
Since the mine began operations in 2007, it has discovered nine new deposits and has extended its estimated life-span to 2022.
While the mine has previously only used open-pit mining, it will begin an underground operation in 2013.
Its total production since 2007 is 171 million pounds of copper, 870,000 ounces of silver,and 84,000 ounces of gold.
See more coverage of the prime minister’s trip, pages 6, 7, 9 and 12.